Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain

Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

The familiar photograph above has made Isambard Kingdom Brunel immortal. Big chains, big hat, big cigar, the epitome of a satisfied, prosperous Victorian gent, an indefatigable genius of a man, a record-breaker who built railways and ships and the beautiful, breathtaking Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Jolly and amiable Rob Bell presents this informative and absorbing portrait – a four-part series – of one of the world’s greatest ever engineers, a man who obsessed over detail, worked 18-hour days and expected similar graft from his staff. Brunel would, says his biographer, “have been a nightmare to work for”.

More than 100 workmen died during the building of the Box Tunnel in Wiltshire, Brunel’s clever, but in human terms, harrowing solution to a hill that blocked his London-to-Bristol Great Western Railway. At the time it was the longest tunnel in the world.

Summary

In a two-part series, Rob Bell explores the work of Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, exploring his complex personality as well as his prolific achievements. In the opening episode, Rob examines Brunel's first major project, the Thames Tunnel, before he went on to secure the post of official engineer to the proposed Great Western Railway.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Rob Bell
Producer Jeff Anderson
Education