Over the course of three episodes, historian Dan Snow relives the nail-biting countdown to the most daring and ingenious bombing raids in history. The story begins in Spring 1943 as squadron leader Guy Gibson assembles and trains a crack team of 133 young airmen whose mission is to destroy the great dams of Germany using a revolutionary new bouncing bomb. If successful they’ll deal a hammer blow to the Nazi war effort. Pushing human skill and engineering capabilities to the limit, this is the story of the single mission that can change the course of the Second World War.
In this episode we follow 24-year-old wing commander Guy Gibson – a war hero already – he’s told by bomber command he has less than eight weeks to recruit and train 147 aircrew. Their mission is top secret, but it will require learning to fly at super low altitude at night and that the targets are on water. We’re also introduced to scientist Barnes Wallis. He’s one of Britain’s most respected aircraft designers and is now developing a precision weapon that he believes can devastate the Nazi war industry. It’s a bomb that bounces along the surface of water if dropped at exactly the right height and distance from the target. It’s said Barnes Wallis first came up with the idea for his bouncing bomb as he skipped stones across the water with his family at Chesil Beach in Dorset.
In this first episode, we learn of the herculean task ahead for the Dambusters 617 squadron and the dangerous training required to make the mission a realistic possibility. Dan Snow takes to the skies to try for himself how the young airmen learned new techniques of flying at just 150 feet above the water. Chances of success look slim. With just six weeks remaining the mission is in trouble. 617 are struggling to fly their Lancaster bombers at extremely low level at night and they still can’t drop their bombs with the necessary precision.
In this episode we count down the critical final days to the raid itself that sees inventor Barnes Wallis struggle to get his revolutionary new bouncing bomb to work.
Not only did the bombs have to be dropped from a precise height, they also needed to land a precise distance away in order to reach the target. This required a new device, simple in construction, but crucial if the mission was to succeed. Dan Snow takes to the skies once more to see for himself just how accurate the bombing aiming device proved to be.
Flying with this level of accuracy at night presents a further challenge to the young crews. Again, innovation is needed to keep the Lancasters flying low when outside is pitch dark.
Beyond new flying skills is the need for the bomb itself to survive impact with the water. This episode witnesses the despair felt by its inventor Barnes Wallis as repeated tests see the bomb casing shatter upon impact with the water.
Various attempts and new designs are tried until with only days to spare, his bomb bounces as needed, and hits its target intact.
With three days remaining before the raid is due to take place, a full dress-rehearsal is carried out. It gives wing commander Guy Gibson confidence that his men are ready. It remains a mission fraught with risk but one that 617 squadron are ready to take on.
In this episode, 617 squadron prepares to take off on one of the most difficult missions of the Second World War - to attack the dams of Germany. The crews of the 19 Lancaster bombers face immediate difficulties as their planes, loaded with the massive four tonne bouncing bombs, struggle to clear the airfield.
The scale of the challenge ahead for these young men is apparent within the first few minutes of reaching the enemy coast: Two crews are forced to return home damaged and a third is destroyed by enemy fire.
As the crews make their way across Europe toward the dams, more planes are lost before they even get chance at dropping their bombs at the target. We witness the despair as the first efforts of destroying the dams fail. The bombs appear to be no match for the mighty structures.
Their chances of a successful mission appear vanishingly small with each failed attempt until, finally, 21-year-old pilot David Maltby and his crew release their bomb that breaches the dam with devasting effects.
The mission then follows is a gripping and unfolding tale of heroic bravery that sees the final conclusion of the targets destroyed.
The mission achieved its objective but at a shocking cost. Of the 133 young men who flew on the raid, only 80 survived, and three of them were prisoners in German hands.
The bomb’s inventor, Barnes Wallis, never got over the loss of life brought about by his idea. He’d forever refuse to answer when asked how he felt about the men who died that night.
This year in 2020, as we all face a Christmas potentially like no other, this one-off special looks at how the royal family traditionally celebrate the big day at Sandringham. This feel-good treat combines archive footage with revealing interviews from royal insiders and former staff, diving into all the delicious detail, festive fine print and celebration secrets. We hear from royal experts on the garish gifts, classy celebrations, historical traditions and why Monopoly has been banned from royal Christmases for over a decade. And as well as learning the secrets to cooking a turkey fit for a Queen, we take a look at the infamous joke presents the family have given each other over the years, with many gag gifts passing down into Windsor folklore.
KEITH'S RING, BOLLYWOOD MANNEQUIN, LUCKY 12 MACHINE, TREE SPURS
Today in the Repair Shop, Jay Blades and the team bring four treasured family heirlooms, and the memories they hold, back to life.
The first arrival of the day is widow Eve Robinson, from Kings Lynn, in Norfolk. She is hoping goldsmith Richard Talman can rescue a cherished keepsake that represents a love story spanning 30 magical years. The wedding ring was her husband Keith’s and was designed by Eve herself. The ring suffered terrible damage when it had to be cut from Keith’s finger by paramedics and Eve dreams of being able to wear it herself, so she can have him with her always. Richard calls on all of his 25 years of experience to make the ring whole again. He replaces the lost diamonds and returns the ring looking resplendent to an emotional Eve.
Dawinder Bansal from Wolverhampton is next in to The Repair Shop, escorted by an exotic companion who causes quite a commotion. The 1960s six foot tall mannequin, modelled on a Bollywood starlet, is in desperate need of a major makeover by ceramics expert Kirsten Ramsay. Dawinder rescued the vintage Indian mannequin from her local neighbourhood Asian shop, where she would regularly visit as a child. The shop was a cultural oasis for Dawinder growing up in the Midlands, during the 80s, where she and her family were a minority. Kirsten fixes, fills and paints the extensive damage to the plaster and reinstates the glitz and glamour to the mannequin that captivated a young Dawinder.
Pinball Wizard Geoff is raring to go when he meets Sally Kershaw from Somerset. She brings him a family relic that’s down on its luck, hoping Geoff will be able to turn its fortunes around. Sally’s father rescued the penny arcade machine over 40 years ago from a bonfire. Sally and her sister loved playing with it growing up but it’s been languishing in a garage for decades and they’d love their children to experience the joy it gave them. Geoff blitzes the internal mechanism, while Will tries his luck on the warped wooden cabinet.
And, an intriguing piece of horticultural history, courtesy of Clive Freeman from Dudley. He’s hoping dream team, Suzie Fletcher and Dominic Chinea, can work their magic on his very unique heirloom….a pair of tree spurs left to him by his lumberjack father. The spikes used to climb trees is a link between Clive and his father and reminds him of their summers working together in the great outdoors. Dom removes the decades of rust from the metal work, while Susie handcrafts bespoke leather leg straps and preserve these curious contraptions for a delighted Clive.
In this new series, Rob Bell explores more abandoned rail routes that once made Britain’s railways the envy of the world.
The country once boasted 20,000 miles of track, but in the course of the past century, almost half the network has disappeared – along with over 5,000 railway stations!
As an engineer, Rob Bell has always been fascinated by the extraordinary story of our lost railways, many of which have now become perfect for a day out on foot.
From the line that conquered the Scottish Highlands, to the express route that would have made HS2 unnecessary, had it stayed open.
Each lost railway tells a story of landscapes and communities transformed by the railways, and of just how much the world has changed since.
This second episode sees Rob following an epic 70-mile route across the Grampian Mountains – the first railway line to make a direct link between Scotland’s Lowlands and its glorious west coast.
The Callander & Oban Railway was ambitious, expensive and a real challenge to keep running through the winter. But for the best part of a century it gave us one of the most memorable and transformative rail lines in the country.
Setting off from Callander – the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ – Rob explores the 14-years of determination it took to build this railway and how, with the help of local hero Rob Roy, it changed Victorian perceptions of the Highlands. No longer a distant land of fearsome Clans, the mountains, lochs and valleys were now a romantic and accessible destination of choice.
Rob jumps on a bicycle for the long climb up Glen Ogle, a valley likened by Queen Victoria to the infamous Khyber Pass. It gave us the railway’s stand-out feature – the Glen Ogle Viaduct – in near perfect condition to this day, curved and seemingly carved into the hillside.
At Loch Tay, he finds a remarkable branch line built by locals, desperate to capitalize on the railway’s tourist trade. And as he heads for the coast Rob swaps the 1870s for the 1960s as he finds how his railway helped build a vast hydro-electric power station deep inside a mountain.
But perhaps the greatest legacy is the line’s terminus at Oban, where an important but isolated coastal town was finally connected by land with the rest of Scotland. Local industries and tourism flourished, and in the 1940s, Oban was able to become a vital hub in the Battle of the Atlantic.
The BAFTA-winning hit MasterChef: The Professionals returns for 2020, to a new home on BBC One.
As the hospitality industry faces the most critical time in its history, the competition showcases the range of culinary talent across the next generation of chefs in the UK. The 13th competition sees judges, Michelin-starred chef, Marcus Wareing; highly-reputed chef, Monica Galetti, and celebrated MasterChef judge, Gregg Wallace, preside over the UK’s most revered cooking competition.
In this heat, four more professional chefs from around the country arrive at the MasterChef kitchen ready to put their skills to the test in a bid to start their journey to the winning title. The chefs will be put through their paces, enduring two intense challenges – resulting in two chefs being sent home and the two strongest contestants going through to the Quarter Final round.
Each chef must start their journey by enduring the infamous Skills Test. It’s the first time they will present themselves and their cookery to the judges and first impressions are everything as their culinary knowledge and skills are put to the test.
Marcus sets the first Skills Test and the chefs are tasked to prepare a brunch dish - Potato Rosti served with Egg, Bacon and Tomatoes. Can the chefs emulate this dish to perfection? They have just 20 minutes, and the chefs need to keep their chances of going further in the competition looking sunny side up.
The two remaining chefs face a test set by Monica and timing is everything as they are asked to make Tempura Mussels with a Smoked Garlic Aioli. The chefs can’t take their eye off the ball or they risk over frying the delicate muscles and precision is key.
Next up is a chance for the four chefs to redeem themselves of earlier mishaps and bring it all back when they cook their own two-course Signature Dishes. They have one hour and 25 minutes to cook up a main and dessert which highlights their personal panache for Monica, Marcus and Gregg. This is the chef’s chance to really cement their place within the competition and the judges will choose which two chefs will be sent home, and which two will make it through to the Quarter Final round.
In the final Heat of the competition, four professional chefs from around the country arrive at the MasterChef kitchen ready to put their reputations on the line and start a journey in the hope of obtaining the MasterChef title. The chefs will be put to the test, enduring two tough challenges – resulting in two chefs being sent home and the two strongest contenders going through to the Quarter Final round.
Monica sets tonight’s first test and asks our first two chefs to Fillet and cook John Dory and serve with a vibrant Green Parsley Sauce and a Garlic Cream. The chefs have to apply neat filleting skills and replicate the vibrant green sauce to give this dish the boldness it needs in just 20 minutes.
The two remaining chefs will take on the last Skills Test set by Marcus of making Poached Figs with Honeycomb and a Flavoured Cream. It’s all about fruitiness and balancing of textures running through this honeyed dessert. But can the chefs make a sweet impression?
Next up is a chance for the four chefs to showcase what they are all about leaving the trials of the Skills Test behind them when they cook their own two-course Signature Dishes. They have one hour and 25 minutes to cook up a main and dessert which highlights their creativity, personal style for Monica, Marcus and Gregg. This is the chef’s chance to really make an impression and the judges will choose which two chefs will be sent home, and which two have done enough to make it through to the Quarter Final.
In the final Quarter Final round, the four best chefs from this weeks’ heats return ready to turn up the heat and impress Monica and Marcus in two more demanding challenges.
What stands before them is an Invention Test. Our chefs are to create a dish which captures the essence of the Forest. The chefs will have a display of ingredients from meat to foraging goods such as mushrooms, berries and much more for their choosing. Monica and Marcus are expecting a high level of cookery and originality with these dishes and they must be inspired. There’s a lot to prove with this dish as the judges will want to see that the chefs can produce sophisticated food with an inventive cleverness.
Next up is the chef’s time to face the challenge of cooking for two of the UK’s toughest Restaurant Critics. They will need to win over the approval of Grace Dent and Jay Rayner. The critics don’t hold back in their judgement and they will pick apart the dishes with what could be marvel one moment and disdain the next. Will they be impressed? It’s all up to what the chefs serve up. They have one hour and 15 minutes to wow the judges with a two-course menu that’s memorable for all the right reasons and keeps them in the competition.
Only the two most talented chefs will go through to The Semi Finals and continue in their quest to achieving the MasterChef: The Professionals title.
Naked Attraction is BACK! The dating show that dares to bare all returns and this time it’s even more revealing, helping sassy singletons avoid the pitfalls of fake online profiles and fancy filters by choosing their perfect partner based solely on the power of Naked Attraction. When we are entirely unfiltered what do people really find sexually attractive?
Recovery op Buzz is sent to rescue a double decker artic marooned at the junction of a busy roundabout. With rush-hour fast approaching and traffic building, this is a major job.
Danny’s day starts badly when the windscreen on his truck is smashed by a stone, forcing him to swap to an unfamiliar slidebed for the day.
Lee is faced with the danger of high speed traffic as he battles to recover a troubled truck that has broken down in a narrow lay-by on the side of a dual carriageway.
And Stig is amazed at the poor skills of a delivery driver when a lorry gets wedged on a muddy verge down a remote country road.
Steph McGovern presents a bold, fresh and exciting daily show broadcast live from Leeds. Steph's Packed Lunch features celebrity guests, fantastic food, intriguing real-life features and the best entertainment, lifestyle and consumer stories making the headlines. Well-known faces reveal what has got the viewers at home talking each day. In the kitchen, chefs Jack Stein and Dr Rupy Aujla rustle up delicious lunchtime treats. And there's a sideways look at the daily news in One O'Clock Views. Dr Helen Lawal and Dr Javid Abdelmoneim are the show's resident medical experts.