Britain From Above

THE HISTORY CHANNEL – Wednesdays from 12 September, 7.30pm

A country looks very different from the skies: like a machine, with its cogs and wheels in permanent motion, or like a living animal with blood coursing through its veins and arteries; the way Britain works is revealed from above in a uniquely compelling way. We can see how what happens in one place has unexpected consequences in another. We can see how our world is changing. We can show how stories from individual people’s lives fit into the bigger picture and how our lives and work are permanently observed and, increasingly, directed from above.

7:30pm Friday, November 5 on Prime


Untamed Britain

In tonight’s series final Andrew Marr microlights and paraglides through the skies, getting a birds eye view of Britain’s untamed and untameable landscape. Along the way, he joins geologists, meteorologists, amateur photographers and festival goers to explore Britain’s geology, the impact of the weather on its shores and the riches hidden beneath its feet. Microlighting down the Great Glen Fault in the Scottish Highlands, Andrew learns about the very origins of the nation, where England and Scotland collided over 400 million years ago. In Northern Ireland, he discovers where geologists looked down from above at a river containing gold flowing through the Sperrin Mountains.

While paragliding on the Welsh borders, he learns how to read the clouds before flying over the east coast of Norfolk, where the wind’s destructive powers are shown to devastating effect. Geology and weather also affect the country’s wildlife and satellite tracking demonstrates the migration of birds from Senegal and Siberia to Britain’s shores. Using thermal imaging that is normally employed to search out insurgents in war zones, the shy Sika deer is tracked along the land on Lulworth Range. Andrew concludes his journey at the Glastonbury Festival (pictured right), where for three days a miniature society flowers which is crowded, cheerful, dirty and mildly anarchic, and which has a transport system that only just works.

7:30pm Friday, October 29 on Prime


Manmade Britain

Tonight we discover how some of the greenest, most natural-seeming landscapes on these islands have in fact been shaped and moulded by human hands over the centuries. From the scars of ancient settlements to suburban splatter and sprawl, from medieval farming to farming by satellite. In this episode Andrew Marr (right) goes on a journey that takes him back in time to the ancient “wild wood” and, with the help of revolutionary new aerial technology discovers iron ages forts lurking in Britain’s forests. We then move forward to the present day to look at the competing needs of a modern economy put immense strain on our countryside. Manmade Britain shows how towns grow organically rather than in an orderly fashion and how planners try to control that growth with greenbelts. Andrew looks down on Britain’s National parks to show how we go to extraordinary lengths to preserve them as artificial but beautiful playgrounds and how we use the most rugged landscape as the ultimate flight simulator for testing Britain’s most ferocious military hardware; the Eurofighter.

7:30pm Friday, October 22 on Prime


24 Hour Britain

British Journalist, and former BBC News presenter Andrew Marr tells the story of Britain as we very rarely see her – from above. On this PRIME documentary three-part series he’ll take viewers on a unique journey up and down the British Isles and back in time tens of thousands of years to reveal the habits, rhythms and little secrets that are only uncovered by looking down from above. Britain looks very different from the skies. From a bird’s eye view of the nation, its workings, cities, landscapes and people are revealed and re-discovered in new and extraordinary ways. Like a constantly moving machine – with its cogs and wheels permanently in motion or like a living animal with blood coursing through its veins and arteries – the way the country works is revealed from above in a uniquely compelling way.

By flying, hovering, floating and sometimes plummeting through the nation’s skies, we’ll discover how some of the greenest and most natural looking parts of Britain have been shaped and moulded by human hands over the centuries. As well as becoming aware of how crowded, complicated and busy the nation is.