Bri­tain’s Big­gest war­ship

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - THE TVPAGES -

BBC2, 8pm

HMS Queen El­iz­a­beth (right) is the largest war­ship ever built for the Royal Navy, and the bare facts of its size alone make it a wor­thy star of this three-part se­ries fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion into ser­vice of Bri­tain’s new air­craft car­rier. But the 65,000ton ves­sel that’s longer than the Houses of Par­lia­ment and taller than Nel­son’s Col­umn would be noth­ing with­out its crew.

How the 700 men and women on board fare as the ship goes to sea is the cen­tral sub­ject for the BBC crew who’ve filmed them for two years. A quar­ter of the sailors have no pre­vi­ous seago­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and to add to the chal­lenge they’ll be op­er­at­ing un­der con­di­tions of ‘lean man­ning’ – a eu­phemism for re­plac­ing per­son­nel with au­to­ma­tion in the cash-strapped Navy.

In the open­ing episode we see the ship com­ing to life be­fore it leaves dock for the first time un­der Cap­tain Jerry Kyd. It’s an im­mensely stir­ring mo­ment what­ever the fu­ture holds.

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