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How to build...

All Episodes 2011

  • Ended
  • BBC Two
  • 2010-06-26T17:00:00-07:00
  • 60 mins
  • 6 hours, 0 mins
  • Documentary
Britain’s iconic and ‘secretive’ engineering companies reveal how they build the world's most amazing machines. The first part of the series “How to build a nuclear submarine” a documentary following the construction of the Astute nuclear submarine. The second part of the series “How to build a jumbo jet engine”, the story of the thousands of people who design, build and test engines at Rolls-Royce’s manufacturing plants in Derby and across the UK, making Rolls-Royce a central part of life for the people of places like Derby. The third and final part of the series “How to build Britain’s secret engineers” when the documentary team follows workers at a leading British company on a global journey, as they reveal a handful of their secretive projects including getting Chinook helicopters ready for front line service.

7 episodes

Special 1 How to build - Learning Shorts

  • 2011-05-05T18:00:00-07:00 — 60 mins

Examines three very different British engineering companies that all share something in common; amazing technology and highly skilled workers.

1x01 A Nuclear Submarine

  • Series Premiere

    2010-06-27T18:00:00-07:00 — 60 mins

Fourteen years to design and build and costing around a billion pounds, nuclear submarine the Astute is one of the most technologically advanced and controversial machines in the world. For over a year the BBC filmed its construction inside one of the most secure and secret places in the country. The film features many of the workers including Erin Browne, a 19-year-old apprentice electrician who wires up the boat; Commander Paul Knight, responsible for the safety of the nuclear reactor; and Derek Parker, whose job involves moving massive pieces of the submarine that weigh hundreds of tons into position before the welding team join them together. Computer graphics go inside the construction of the submarine itself, giving a blueprint of the design, the life-support systems and weaponry. They also help to illustrate the areas that could not be filmed due to national security. The story takes a dramatic turn when an unforeseen event means the submarine has to sail into the open sea for the first time during one of the wettest and windiest weekends of the year.

1x02 A Jumbo Jet Engine

  • 2010-07-04T18:00:00-07:00 — 60 mins

As Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner makes its inaugural flight, Rolls-Royce engineers celebrate the performance of its revolutionary Trent 1000 jet engines. They're the latest in a family of sophisticated aero engines that have driven Rolls-Royce to become world leaders in the market for jumbo jet engines. This is the story of the thousands of people who design, build and test engines at Rolls-Royce's manufacturing plants in Derby and across the UK, making Rolls-Royce a central part of life for the people who work there. Exploring some of the astonishing technology behind the engines' advanced components, the programme meets the skilled engineers who design and build them, and experience the ups and downs of life on the assembly line.

1x03 Britain's Secret Engineers

  • 2010-07-11T18:00:00-07:00 — 60 mins

If you need to build a 'top-secret' piece of equipment in the UK, there's one place many people choose to go: defence contractor QinetiQ. We follow workers at this leading British company on a global journey, as they reveal a handful of their secretive projects. We meet the scientists and engineers building robots to defuse Afghanistan's deadly roadside bombs and learn how they're adapting them to help in dangerous civilian situations in the UK. We find out how British experts are using 'stealth technology' to make wind turbines less visible to radar and, with unprecedented access, we follow the engineers racing to get Chinook helicopters ready for front line service, including Afghanistan.

2x01 A Super Jumbo Wing

  • Season Premiere

    2011-11-13T18:00:00-08:00 — 60 mins

1/3 A film following some of the people who work at the two main Airbus factories in the UK.

2x02 A Super Car

  • 2011-11-20T18:00:00-08:00 — 60 mins

With extraordinary access to one of the country's most secretive companies, this shows how Formula One racing team McLaren is now building a road car using some of their F1 technology.

2x03 A Satellite

  • 2011-11-27T18:00:00-08:00 — 60 mins

Some of the best and most up-to-date communication satellites in the world are designed and built in Stevenage in Britain. With exclusive access to specialist manufacturer Astrium, this program shows step-by-step how to assemble one of the most complicated machines in the world. The team is followed as they construct a massive communication satellite; from the inner carbon-fibre skeleton to the fuel tanks and engines. At the Portsmouth site, the electronic 'payload' is built and then tested. It has to operate for a minimum of fifteen years - guaranteed, and so precision is everything; these machines are built inside rooms cleaner than the cleanest operating theatre. Once the satellite is built and tested, it is sent to France where solar arrays and antenna dishes are added before it is boxed up and sent for launch in French Guiana in South America. Finally, there is the tense countdown to lift-off - the most dangerous moment of the satellite's life.