OU/BBC
05 Oct 2012

Built in Britain a new OU/BBC series presented by Evan Davis explores the size of the engineering challenge Britain faces and how we can tackle it

TX Sunday 7th October, BBC Two

Victorian Britain was famous for its magnificent feats of engineering, but over a century later our once groundbreaking systems are aged and creaking. In this two part series, Evan Davis will look at the importance of infrastructure – why it is needed, and some of the solutions being implemented to repair Britain’s crumbling networks.

With fascinating insight into the parts of Britain that you hardly ever see - such as the guts of the Humber Bridge to the underground power cable tunnels housed below the Olympic park - Evan discovers why it is so essential that our infrastructure develops to keep up with our ever expanding and changing nation. Travelling across the country he meets some of the nation’s best engineers and architects and examines the scale of the challenges we face in future proofing Britain.

Dr Leslie Budd, Reader in Social Enterprise at The Open University and one of Academic Advisors for the series said, “This series follows on from the previous co-production Made in Britain and challenges the conventional wisdom that the UK cannot design, build and manage large infrastructure projects. At a time of austerity, building new and improving existing infrastructure is being promoted as a possible solution to our economic problems. The analysis and insight of Built in Britain makes a major contribution to our understanding and education of the complex challenges we all face.”

In episode one, Evan looks at the cost implications of updating our infrastructure and the complexities faced when trying to decide what to build today for the Britain of tomorrow. He meets Phyllis, one of the vast burrowing machines carving out the tunnels for London’s Crossrail and visits the valve towers of Britain’s biggest man made reservoir.

The final episode focuses on Britain’s engineering triumphs - such as the Olympic Park and High Speed One, and examines what it takes to deliver a successful engineering project. Evan visits a site where new technology is being trialed to increase the efficiency of existing motorways and railways and asks – has Britain finally rediscovered its great tradition of epic engineering?

Visit the OpenLearn webpage to discover more about engineering via a series of free online videos and a timeline charting 150 years of Britain’s engineering history follow the OpenLearn link: www.open.edu/openlearn/whats-on/tv/ou-on-the-bbc-built-britain

For those who want to take the learning journey further, The Open University offers courses related to the subjects explored in this series, information for which can also be found on the OpenLearn webpage – link above.

Built in Britain is a co-production between The Open University and the BBC. The Executive Producerfor the BBC is Darren Kemp and the Commissioner for The Open University is Caroline Ogilvie.

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