War at Sea: Scotland's Story

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The Dreadnoughts of Scapa Flow

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Dreadnoughts of Scapa Flow

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Review

Actor David Hayman rolls his tongue extravagantly around this two-part exploration of the naval action of the First World War from a Scottish perspective (first shown in Scotland back in April). “Too cold, too windy, too far away” is how some seamen reacted to being posted to Scapa Flow in Orkney, the northern hemisphere's greatest natural harbour. And it certainly wasn't the most comfortable posting (Rosyth, near Edinburgh, was a much cosier billet).

But this is also as much about rapid advances in battleship design and decisions made at the top by the likes of naval commanders John Jellicoe and David Beattie, up to and including the pivotal battle of Jutland in 1916, which cost thousands of lives, and which was, as one historian describes, “a strategic victory, a tactical embarrassment.”

Summary

Part one of two. David Hayman examines the nation's pivotal role in the First World War's naval campaign. He begins by visiting the Orkney Isles, where the natural harbour of Scapa Flow became the base of the British grand fleet, and charts the fortunes of the dreadnoughts, battle cruisers and destroyers on their engagements with the enemy in the North Sea.

Cast & Crew

Presenter David Hayman
Director Andy Twaddle
Executive Producer David Harron
Executive Producer Rachel Bell
Producer Andy Twaddle
Documentary History