Flying For Britain with David Jason

Flying For Britain with David Jason

A great day out at Beaulieu

A great day out at Beaulieu

September 11

Flying For Britain with David Jason

Flying For Britain with David Jason is a new hour-long one-off documentary follows Sir David Jason as he meets the RAF team who fly and maintain the country’s historic aircraft that make up the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – a Second World War campaign in which British fighters attempted to keep the country safe against attacks from German pilots – this year is particularly notable for the Memorial Flight, which consists of 12 aircraft.

Sir David, a qualified helicopter pilot and aircraft enthusiast who has previously flown Spitfires, sees the pilots practicing formation flying and rehearsing for public displays, filming behind the scenes in hangars and workshops where these irreplaceable historic machines are fastidiously maintained.

He takes to the skies and flies alongside veteran Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, learning more about the history of these incredible aircraft and the brave crew who flew them.

He also gets to know some of today’s best pilots – and meets the team of engineers at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire who keep the aircraft in the Memorial Flight in perfect working order.

Because Britain went into Coronavirus lockdown as the programme started filming, Sir David speaks to the volunteers from the Memorial Flight, many of whom also have other jobs in the Royal Air Force, about how they plan to salvage their previously-packed display schedule.

Watch Flying For Britain with David Jason on ITV on Tuesday September 15th

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August 3

There’s no mystery as to why we love Scooby Doo!

Who doesn’t love Scooby Doo? Well, it’s no big mystery to me – it’s funny, silly, formulaic and appeals to children and, for reasons of pure nostalgia, their parents.

I grew up watching it and it’s never gone away and seems to be continually being reinvented for new generations.

Now there are new toy versions – and the nice people at Playmobil sent me one of their range – the iconic Mystery Machine – for my children to review.

The set contains three figures: Fred, Daphne and Velma and loads of accessories. The attention to detail is great – including a little magnifying glass, map and a torch.

The Mystery Machine is solidly made and bright and colourful and therefore appealing to kids even if they aren’t that familiar with the show.

My youngest hasn’t really watched the series much but she loves the set – as played with it every day since it arrived so it’s become a firm favourite toy in our house.

It doesn’t matter to my daughter, but if she was a bit older, from a parent’s point of view, it’s a bit annoying when a set like this doesn’t have all the main figures – this one omits Scooby and Shaggy (although this is normal for this kind of branded set and Lego does it all the time, as obviously manufacturers want us to buy more sets!)

That minor gripe aside, it’s a nice addition to our toy cupboard.

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November 1

A great day out at Beaulieu

We had a great day out at The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. If you’re interested in cars then it’s the place for you, but even if, like me, you only have a passing interest in motor vehicles, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy.

One of the great things about the museum and how it is laid out is your ability to get close up and personal to all the hundreds of rare and historic cars. Despite their value – some must be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – there’s no great walls of glass keeping you away from them, just polite signs asking you not to touch.

From vintage Bugattis to the good old British Austin Seven and from Formula One racing cars to a Volkswagen Golf (how can a car identical to one that my school friend had as a first car be in a museum – that made me feel very old!)

We went during half-term and there was a fantastic exhibition of the classic 1960s movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Not only have they got the famous car there but they also had one that drives around. They’ve got a whole exhibition of artefacts from the film.

If like me you grew up terrified of the Child Catcher, then you can relive your moment of terror by actually seeing one of the real Child Catcher’s carriages!

We also went on a vintage bus ride, which was great and reminded me of the days when there were such thing as bus conductors – I’m really showing my age here.

One of the highlights of the day was going on the monorail. Built in 1974 and notably opened by The Wombles, who I had to explain to my son, were huge back then, the monorail goes right round the estate and uniquely goes through the exhibition of cars. The doors open at one end and the monorail goes through the cars which you can see if you look over the edge looking at the cars below, before going back out the other end.

We also went to a fabulous exhibition of the Special Operations Executive. Beaulieu was a wartime training base for secret agents who were parachuted into occupied France to – in Churchill’s words – “set Europe ablaze”. What was fascinating amongst the exhibits was a glass display of some of the quirkier secret gadgets such a map hidden in a pen, a radio in a lunchbox and a hacksaw hidden in a brush. Continue reading

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