Castles In The Sky

Confirmed for BBC Two on 4 September at 9.00pm to 10.30pm

Thursday 4 September



Castles in the Sky is 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.

The factual drama 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” while 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.

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 their 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 – it's 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 resonate today.”

Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad) plays Margaret Watson 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 and 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.