Chris Is Back Among The Machines

On the National Geographic channel.

29 May, 2009

What is it with Red Dwarf cast members and petrolheadedness? Craig Charles on Robot Wars, Robert Llewellyn on Scrapheap. A couple of photos of Chloë Annett draped across a sports car and the set will be complete!

Still, on this topic Chris Barrie still leads the way. Whether it be hosting his Massive Engines series, or providing a little rewrite to some of the geekier vehicle-based dialogue in Back to Earth (check the all-new documentary to hear about that), he could strip you a gearbox blindfold, underwater and being distracted by jellyfish.

National Geographic know this, which is why he's now hosting Britain's Greatest Machines. From the Spitfire to the Mini Cooper, Chris salutes over fifty years of world-beating British know how - it says on this handy press release - revealing how these mechanical icons helped shape Britain and changed peoples' lives in the process. However, together with all the great success stories, this wouldn't be British history without some glorious failures too.

The four-part series kicks off on on the National Geographic Channel on Thursday, June 4th and continues weekly at 9pm. The episodes are:

Chris Is Back Among The Machines

1930s
Chris drives the world's fastest steam locomotive, the A4 Gresley and takes a flight in a Dragon Rapide, one of Britain's most successful early commercial airliners. This decade also introduced us to the Morris, the mass-produced car which went on to influence the production of one of the fastest tanks of WWII - the Crusader.

Chris Is Back Among The Machines

1950s
Chris takes a ride on the iconic Routemaster bus down to his local skidpan and fires up a Vulcan bomber. Then, taking the controls of a Deltic Diesel locomotive, he finds out how wartime technology and materials were used to build groundbreaking new machines in an attempt to remain a world leader in engineering.

Chris Is Back Among The Machines

1960s
Monte Carlo is Chris' next destination where he relives the well known Monte Carlo Rally at the wheel of a Mini Cooper. The Sixties were a time of major social and cultural change led by Britain's best designers and engineers. He also organises his own Miss World competition, for beautiful Sixties sports cars!

Chris Is Back Among The Machines

1980s
The 'Back to the Future' DeLorean DMC is the starting point for Chris this final episode followed by a closer look at the critical battles of the Falklands War as he seeks out the greatest British machines of the 80s. Chris also charts the birth of the white van. Reaching speeds of up to 90mph, it was a popular choice for both builders and bank robbers.

We don't know about anyone else, but the sight of Rimmer with his hands on the DeLorean controls - putting two of the best sci-fi comedies in the world together in a piece of imagery so powerful it threatens to kick-off a universe-destroying explosion - immediately makes this a must-see.

You can learn more from the National Geographic Channel website.

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