Last night saw the first of a new three-part series ‘Britain’s Biggest Warship’ air on BBC 2, when in 2016 sailors began to arrive at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland for the first time where HMS Queen Elizabeth was still under construction.
Before sailing, the crew have to undergo rigorous fire and flood training, but suddenly they are faced with the real thing. Has the training paid off? And how will they get this new aircraft carrier out of the dockyard sea gate with only a few centimetres clearance either side? They will also have to sail her under the Forth road and rail bridges – no easy task when HMS Queen Elizabeth is taller than both.
At a cost of £3.1 billion and the largest ship ever constructed for the Royal Navy things were bound not to be plain sailing (pardon the pun) . Indeed when first at sea she sprung a leak in the engine room – sending what looked like gallons of saltwater gushing eagerly down onto all high voltage electrics. A well trained and responsive crew, many of whom have not been to sea before soon had the situation under control.
Filmed by Chris Terrill (main picture), who in 2007 was awarded an honorary green beret when embedded with Royal Marine Commandos training for Afghanistan (an experience chronicled in Commando: On The Front Line) the ‘docudrama’ follows a handful of carefully selected crew (mainly officers) around the ship without any real sense of purpose or structure. Although professionally filmed it has the feel it’s been done by a amateur and Terrill actually sounds surprised when acting as part camera man/part presenter as he is told facts about the ship.
We are promised more drama in next week’s episode which we could have had more of this week and would have undoubtedly hooked more viewers to return to watch the second episode. Personally if I happen to be in front of my TV next Sunday I might watch it but if I miss it I won’t loose too much sleep.