Department of Engineering / News / Hugh Hunt's 'Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb' wins Royal Television Society award for best history programme

Department of Engineering

Hugh Hunt's 'Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb' wins Royal Television Society award for best history programme

Hugh Hunt's 'Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb' wins Royal Television Society award for best history programme

Hugh Hunt wins the best history programme for 'Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb'

The Royal Television Society (RTS), Britain’s leading forum for television and related media, have announced the winners for the RTS Programme Awards 2011. Dr Hugh Hunt and Windfall Films won the best history programme for their documentary, Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb.

Filmic and beautifully realised, [this] was gripping, innovative and provided real insight.

“Filmic and beautifully realised, [this] was gripping, innovative and provided real insight.”

Hugh was the lead engineer designing simulated bouncing 'bombs' that were constructed from scratch, then dropped by aircraft flying just 60 feet above the surface of a lake in British Columbia, Canada, to destroy a 130-feet wide dam.

The science behind the bouncing bomb is highly complex, and many of Barnes Wallis' vital working calculations have been lost. Hugh attempted to solve the scientific puzzle of exactly how Wallis did it. Starting from scratch, he rediscovers the brilliance of Wallis's achievement by trying to hit a dam with a bouncing bomb.

It is the first time this has been attempted since the war. Hugh was assisted by dam engineers, explosives experts, mechanics and pilots who specialise in low altitude flying.

First Hugh modifies a vintage Second World War aircraft to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum, then he asks the pilots to fly dangerously low over a Canadian lake and release the bomb at the perfect point so that it bounces across the water onto a specially-constructed 130-foot-wide dam. Then they attempt to blow the dam sky-high....

The awards ceremony, held at Grosvenor House on Tuesday 20 March, was hosted by actor, comedian and radio presenter Rob Brydon.

Chaired by David Liddiment, the Awards honour excellence in key genres of television programming, from children's fiction to comedy performance, history to soaps, covering both national and regional output. Held annually, the RTS Programme Awards aim to recognise the work of exceptional actors, presenters, writers and production teams, as well as celebrating the programmes themselves.

Following on from this TV success, Hugh and Windfall films are now filming a documentary about a planned escape from Colditz. Hugh and his team build a replica of a glider that was under construction at the supposedly escape proof prisoner-of-war camp. The Second World War prisoners designed and constructed the glider behind a false wall in the attic. Their intention was to use the glider to reach the advancing allied forces in 1945 should the German guards at Colditz have started killing prisoners. It never came to that and a photograph of the glider sitting in the loft at Colditz was taken a few days after Liberation. Hugh and his team fly the replica of the glider from the roof of Colditz. The film will be on Channel 4 this summer.