Jet! When Britain Ruled the Skies

Series 1 - 1. Military Marvels

Military Marvels
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Radio Times
Review by:
David Crawford

One of those great nostalgia-infused docs that BBC4 does so well. It looks back to a time when Great Britain was at the forefront of the Jet Age, with a flourishing aircraft industry ripe with ingenuity and design brilliance. Even the planes had thrilling names: Meteor, Vulcan, Valiant and English Electric Lightning. Beat that, Eurofighter.

And while the Jet Age may have been an age of austerity, the achievements of daring test pilots and their futuristic planes captured the public’s imagination, making the pilots as celebrated as today’s football stars. It’s a compelling story that will appeal particularly to fans of Dan Dare.

About this programme

1/2. Two-part documentary examining advances in British aviation in the 1950s and 60s, which begins by exploring the design and technology behind a new generation of military planes including the Vulcan bomber and the Meteor jet fighter. The first programme investigates how the achievements came at a time of national austerity, and there is a tragic reminder of how some test pilots paid the ultimate price for their work. Including contributions by Norman Tebbit and Tony Blackman.

Cast and crew


Barbara Flynn
Norman Tebbit
Tony Blackman


James Millar
Executive Producer
William Lyons
James Millar