22 Sep 2011

Great British design

Broadcast date: beginning of October (TBC), BBC Two

Britain is famous for many great engineering achievements, including the Great Western Railway, the jet engine and Hovercraft. How to Build, an Open University and BBC partnership, will showcase three current British engineering projects, all featuring highly skilled and dedicated individuals using technology to create incredible products

The series will look at the design and manufacturing of a superjumbo wing, supercar and telecommunications satellite. Gaining unprecedented access to the people and organisations behind these phenomena, the programmes will feature highly skilled engineers building some of the most complicated machines at the heart of UK industries.

Dr Tony Nixon, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems and one of The Open University’s academic consultants for the series, said: “These programmes offer a real insight into the world of engineering, showing the expertise and dedication of skilled individuals working in UK industries and their contribution to the global activity of product development and manufacture.”

The three 60-minute programmes will use computer graphics to strip these complex products back to their core features, before layering in the detail to build up a picture of how each works. The series will start at two Airbus UK factories responsible for the design and manufacture of the Superjumbo wings; Filton, near Bristol, where Concorde was manufactured, and Broughton in North Wales, one of Europe’s biggest factories.

The second programme goes inside the futuristic glass and steel McLaren factory, built in the Surrey countryside, to explore how a combination of Formula 1 technology, a multi-million pound investment and five years of research and design can create a new supercar..

Finally, engineers working for Astrium in Stevenage and Portsmouth will show how they design, construct and test major components of a telecommunications satellite, which when fired into orbit, will need to survive extreme temperatures and fast moving space debris.

Programme Credits
How to Build is a partnership between The Open University and the BBC.

Executive Producer for the BBC is Tina Fletcher-Hill; Series Producer is Steve Crabtree. The Open University academic consultants for the series are Professor Chris Earl, Dr Tony Nixon and Bernie Clark.

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