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How Britain Won the Space Race: The Story of Bernard Lovell and Jodrell Bank

Episode 1 of 6

How Bernard Lovell's telescope was used by both the Americans and the Russians to track their competing spacecraft and put Britain at the forefront of radio astronomy.

The unlikely story of how one man with some ex-WWII army equipment eventually turned a muddy field in Cheshire into a key site in the space race. That man was Bernard Lovell, and his telescope at Jodrell Bank would be used at the height of the Cold War by both the Americans and the Russians to track their competing spacecraft. It also put Britain at the forefront of radio astronomy, a new science which transformed our knowledge of space and provided the key to understanding the most mind-bending theory of the beginnings of the universe - the Big Bang.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01



  • 00:02



  • 00:03



  • 00:07

    Nina Simone

    I Put A Spell On You

  • 00:11

    The Chordettes

    Mr Sandman

  • 00:11

    Glenn Miller

    In The Mood (feat. Jodie Prenger)

  • 00:36

    John Barry

    Main Title (from The Ipcress File)

  • 00:40

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Well Tempered Clavier Book I - Prelude and Fugue in C BWV896

  • 00:42

    Bill Evans

    Peace Piece

    Performer: Bill Evans.
  • 00:43

    The Byrds

    Eight Miles High

  • 00:45

    Echo & the Bunnymen

    The Killing Moon

  • 00:51

    Joy Division


  • 00:56




Role Contributor
Narrator Maxine Peake
Producer Chloe Penman
Director Chloe Penman
Series Producer William Naylor
Executive Producer Michael Poole


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