Castles In The Sky, a new BBC Two factual drama starring Eddie Izzard
New BBC Two factual drama Castles In The Sky tells the previously untold story of the fight to invent Radar by Scotsman Robert Watson-Watt (Eddie Izzard) and a team of unproven and unknown British scientists.
I feel very privileged to be playing the role of Robert Watson-Watt. Hopefully our production will allow him, along with Skip Wilkins and the team, to finally take their places in the pantheon of British greats of World War Two as the inventors of Radar
The story conveys the genuine human drama - of determination and genius versus establishment prejudice - behind the invention which was to prove decisive in the Battle of Britain.
Watson-Watt’s ambition was initially dismissed by the Oxbridge-dominated establishment, including Winston Churchill, as “Castles in the Sky” whilst he and his fellow scientists, who were his meteorologist colleagues, were disregarded as a bunch of “weather men” from provincial universities. Yet they continued to strive to achieve their dreams against all odds, to the detriment of their personal lives and at the cost of some of their marriages.
Eddie Izzard comments: "I feel very privileged to be playing the role of Robert Watson-Watt. Hopefully our production will allow him, along with Skip Wilkins and the team, to finally take their places in the pantheon of British greats of World War Two as the inventors of Radar. Without Radar the Nazis would probably have been able to invade and occupy our country. So the future of the free world may well have been saved by these unlikely men and their brilliant work leading up to the Battle of Britain. Their names are not famous - that is a mistake Britain must rectify. This is their story.”
Producer Simon Wheeler explains why he decided to put the film together: “The time is right for a contemporary approach to this rich and under reported vein of British history – its not like other war stories - if anything it’s more akin to a combination of The Social Network and Chariots Of Fire than The Dambusters or Reach For The Skies. It’s an important story about a bunch of men who realised that their seemingly crackpot ideas and incredibly hard work could save the nation – and its poignancy and meaning still resonates today.”
Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad) plays Margaret Watson-Watt, Watt’s long suffering wife. The cast also includes Alex Jennings (The Queen) as Henry Tizard; Tim McInnerny (The Devil’s Whore) as Winston Churchill; David Hayman (Trial And Retribution) as Frederick Lindemann; Julian Rhind-Tutt (Greenwing) as Albert Percival Rowe and Karl Davies (Emmerdale and Game Of Thrones) as Skip Wilkins.
It is produced by Simon Wheeler for Hero Film and Television. Gillies McKinnon directs (Regeneration, Hideous Kinky) from a script by Ian Kershaw (Shameless).
Castles In The Sky is produced with support from The Open University, BBC Scotland, BBC Worldwide, Creative Scotland, the Robert Watson-Watt Trust and Brechin Civic Trust and co-produced by Black Camel Films.
Castles In The Sky - BBC Two, Thursday 4 September, 9.00pm