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Inside Porton Down: Britain's Secret Weapons Research Facility

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Review

In an arresting opening sequence Michael Mosley takes off his mask in a room full of CS gas. “OK, open your eyes,” asks an unseen commentator. “What’s your name?” Mosley doesn’t get beyond “Michael… oh god!” before he erupts into a coughing, spluttering mess, belting for the door to fresh air.

In a fascinating hour Mosley takes us on a guided tour of some – but by no means all – of the government’s Porton Down chemical and biological research establishment in the Wiltshire countryside. Just the very name conjures up the Cold War, anthrax experiments and secrecy.

Today, though, its scientists manufacture only tiny amounts of deadly nerve agents for research and protection purposes. We watch as an expert makes the unimaginably deadly Agent X. It might have a comic book name but the inoffensive looking liquid in front of us could, he tells us, “kill tens, hundreds of thousands of people.”

Summary

Dr Michael Mosley investigates Britain's most secretive and controversial military research base, Porton Down, on its 100th anniversary. He comes face to face with chemical and biological weapons old and new, reveals the truth about animal and human testing, and discovers how the latest science and technology are helping to defend the UK against terrorist attacks and rogue nations.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Dr Michael Mosley
Director Tim Usborne
Executive Producer Mark Tattersall
Executive Producer Julian Mercer
Producer Tim Usborne

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