BBC World Service marks VE Day with new podcast and radio series Spitfire: The People’s Plane


BBC World Service

The BBC World Service is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a new 10-part podcast and radio series charting the extraordinary story behind the Spitfire plane.

Presented by English actor Tuppence Middleton, Spitfire: The People’s Plane will tell the astonishing story of how the beautiful and deadly icon of resistance was built against the odds by ordinary people across Britain after the Spitfire factory was repeatedly bombed.

The legend of the Spitfire is usually told as the battle of ‘the few’ - the planes and pilots that fought and won the Battle of Britain - an aerial dog fight that raged through the summer of 1940 and halted the Nazi invasion of Britain. Prime Minister Winston Churchill said famously of the fighter pilots that: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”. But that is not the whole story, and their success was also based on the sacrifice of thousands of ordinary women and men.

When German bombs hit the Spitfire factory in the coastal city of Southampton many lives were lost and production ground to a sudden halt. As British resistance against the Nazis hung in the balance an extraordinary plan was hatched. The factory wouldn’t be rebuilt. Instead, ordinary people in bus depots, car workshops and even a laundry would build the Spitfire piece by piece.

Using diaries, audio archive and music, we hear from the people who raised money to buy the planes and from those who built them and then looked up as their Spitfires weaved through the summer sky, fighting for victory.

Tuppence Middleton, series presenter and star of War And Peace, Downton Abbey and The Current War, says: “It is a privilege to be able to honour and celebrate these heroes and to learn more about the extraordinary national effort behind this moment in our history. Now more than ever it feels apt to shine a light on the passion and dedication it takes to come together as a community.”

Steve Titherington, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service English says: “This is the extraordinary story of how before a plane could save a country, the people first had to come together to build it. The tale of how a community comes together in a shared endeavour to win a battle and save countless lives is a theme that resonates as powerfully today as it did 80 years ago. Across ten episodes we celebrate the heroism of ordinary men and women who put their communities on the frontline of war.”

Spitfire: The People’s Plane launches as a podcast on the 8 May - VE Day - and on air on the BBC World Service on 9 May 2020.

April 22, 2020 6:30am ET by Pressparty  

, ,

  Shortlink to this content:


Latest Press Releases