Andrew Marr

Our host reveals what's excited him most about the analysing our country from the skies.

"I spend a lot of my time in hot television studios, so filming Britain from Above is about as far from that as it's possible to get."

Rather like a boy's fantasy adventure, Andrew has skydived, microlighted, parachuted and paraglided his way across the skies of the nation.

"Paragliding was a surprising experience. It essentially involves jumping off a hill holding on to a plastic bag attached to some string."

"My pilot was reading the clouds, the hills and watching the birds hovering to find the thermals, taking us soaring into the air, I'd never understood before how it is possible to read the air."

But most shocking of all was the sky-diving. "There's no doubt that the biggest highlight was being dropped out of a plane twice, two miles up - in other words, skydiving - which was completely unlike what I'd expected."

"[All of this] does truly give you a completely different perspective on life in Britain. There are so many things that you see from the sky."

"We're in smaller planes or helicopters talking with experts who know exactly what they are looking at. You see all the archaeological sites, extraordinary field patterns, Iron Age forts, traces of original Roman roads and so on, which most people would look down at and don't even notice."

"I hope people will learn all sorts of kind of small, interesting facts. I had no idea how vast some of the armament dumps in the middle of England are, nor why poorer, working class areas of cities are generally sited to their east. I did not know why it is so hard to travel by train across the country, compared to journeying from north to south. "

"Britain is a land full of clever people with something to share. My job is to ask the obvious questions, what in Scotland we called 'daft laddie questions': why are our cities this shape; why are our field systems like this; how is it possible to get so many people in and out of cities everyday and not tip into mayhem?"

"Somehow, by a blend of skill and alchemy everything on our crowded, beautiful islands keeps working. What I hope people take away from this is a sense of how extraordinary it is that we all manage to get along without tipping into utter mayhem and chaos, because, I think, most of us are pretty tolerant of each other. We call it Britain."

Technically Britain from Above was an incredibly complex shoot with multiple cameras mounted in multiple places, making filming a challenging process in itself.

"The biggest thing about this show was its technical complexity, with cameras on the ground, on helicopters, on wings, on me. There's no doubt that it's a very strange feeling trying to speak to a helicopter, which is miles away, delivering a piece to camera."

"My abiding memory, alongside the terrifying, exhilarating plunging and soaring through our skies, will be a renewed sense of the vitality and energy of the country."

"The biggest reason I can see that we keep this vast, intricate, living system known as Britain functioning is simply the tolerance, good humour and mutual respect of us, her people."

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Andrew skydiving
Andrew falling from 10,000 feet

Also in About

  • Andrew Marr

    About

    Andrew Marr takes to the skies exploring Britain from above.

  • Railways across the UK

    Did You Know?

    Fascinating facts and figures in Britain from Above.

  • Bowness-on-Solway

    Jason Hawkes' Photography

    Jason Hawkes is one of the world's most respected aerial photographers.

  • Andrew Marr and crowd psychologist Clifford Stott

    Expert Contributors

    Discover how some of Britain's foremost academics, agencies and professional bodies have helped to inform Britain From Above.

  • A keyboard

    FAQs

    Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions about Britain from Above.

  • A tape library

    Credits

    Britain from Above was developed and produced by Lion Television for the BBC. A true multiplatform project the team worked across the television series and interactive.

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