Hidden in plain sight

Published October 1, 2018

The second series of Hidden Britain by Drone aired on Channel 4 recently, and I just wanted to take a moment to say how brilliant this programme is. I watched the first series and loved the concept - Tony Robinson introduces film footage taken by drones that fly over areas that are inaccessible or, at the very least, not open to the public.

Now, let’s be clear from the start, that description does get a little bit stretched on occasion, particularly in the second series. Some of the locations you could get to on foot, and there often are people milling about, but still, it’s good to get a new view and look at things from a different angle.

Some of the visits in the second series were really interesting - nuclear decommissioning sites, the rusty sea-forts standing proud in the water, and an abandoned theme park! Some of the areas weren’t as interesting, including a bunker of luxury cars and bees on top of Fortnum and Mason, but it’s always worth sticking through the less fascinating topics.

One of the highlights of the second series was a feature that had the drones flying high above Goonhilly, an earth station in Cornwall. I was confused at first, because I thought this was open to the public. It certainly was when we visited way back in 2005.


Since then, apparently, it’s been recommissioned and is playing a key part in space agency projects to provide communications across long distances. In April this year, Goonhilly announced a  team up with the European Space Agency, helping out with part of a Moon Mission.

I love that this programme made me look into Goonhilly again, because when I visited, it was a slightly rundown place with a rickety visitor bus tour. Now I know it’s not a crumbling old communications centre but becoming a crucial mission control.


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