Guy Martin’s flying high in Battle of Britain

Sunday: Guy Martin’s Battle of Britain; (Channel 4, 9pm)
Guy MartinGuy Martin
Guy Martin

He’s broken ribs, shattered his hands, punctured his lungs and broken his back not once but twice – the first time in three places – so it takes a lot to phrase the motorcycle racer, truck engineer and likeable TV presenter Guy Martin

Still, last week’s opening episode of this two-part documentary that sees him training to become a Second World War fighter pilot contained more than enough excitement even for him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He first tried his hand at the controls of an aircraft in a Tiger Moth biplane, before graduating on to a much faster model – the Harvard, in which he learned his first aerial combat manoeuvres.

All that and the clay pigeon shooting (which was used during the War as a training exercise to help rookie pilots shoot fast-moving targets) too made the first half of this living-history documentary a riveting watch, and tonight we get to see whether his hard work has paid off.

The plan was always to take to the skies in a Hawker Hurricane and, to get a better insight into what those brave members of the ‘Greatest Generation’ had to go through during the Battle of Britain, face a Messerschmidt 109 in a dogfight in the skies above Kent

His training has to ramp up a few gears first, with lessons in handling an aircraft performing extreme manoeuvres while flying at 200mph, as well as in coping with the massive g-forces being exerted on him (although his time spent racing motorbikes in TT races must help here) and even in flying upside-down.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And then there’s the weaponry. The clay pigeon shoot might have helped with his aim, but that shotgun is a world apart from the Second World War aircraft machine guns that the Hurricane is equipped with. He needs someone more acquainted with the hardware and so enlists the help of the Parachute Regiment to teach him his stocks from his barrels.

Of course, Guy’s no novice when it comes to Second World War planes – back in 2014 he made a similar programme about the iconic Spitfire. However, the Hurricane is a different beast altogether, made out of wood and fabric – as opposed to metal, like the Spitfire – meaning it was faster and easier to both produce and to repair. It was also considered more stable and accurate in combat than its more famous cousin, the Spitfire apparently living up to its name and being quite wild and unpredictable at times.

Unfortunately, the fact it’s made out of less durable materials means the aircraft hasn’t survived the rigours of time in the same way that steel aircraft have. In fact, only one two-seater Hurricane exists in the world today – and it’s this which Martin will be hopping aboard and taking the controls of.

Speaking to The Sun ahead of this new programme, Guy said: “Anyone who knows anything about the Battle of Britain talks about the Spitfire, but the Hurricane gets forgotten. So this programme is dedicated to that plane — and what a great experience it was. I’m a lucky b****** to do this job!”.

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you