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Sir Winston Churchill - image via Shutterstock

PhD student contributes to new TV programme on Churchill

A University of Exeter PhD student has contributed to a brand new TV programme about Sir Winston Churchill on the Discovery Channel.  'Churchill’s Toyshop' is a one-off documentary special exploring Winston Churchill’s clandestine research institute that created strange and often ingenious weapons during the Second World War.

This one-off documentary explores the secretive and strange arms race between Britain and the Nazis during WW2. 

Convinced that the path to victory lay in out gunning the Nazis but faced with limited resources, British weapon manufactures were forced to improvise. 

To combat the problem, Winston Churchill himself set-up a secret clandestine research institute, dedicated to coming up with super weapons that would give troops the edge in battle. He christened the department Military Defence 1 but it quickly becomes known as Churchill's toyshop.

Using rare archive and interviews, the one-off special tells the story of the department and some of the most fantastic and improbable weapons ever created. With the help of modern experts and contemporary blue prints the series will also recreate some of the lost technology.

Patrick Bury, an ESRC-funded PhD student in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, said: 'I'd worked with the team before on the Nazi Megastructures series, so it was easy coming back to do this. It was also very interesting researching for it and learning about a small, unconventional, and long forgotten branch of military research and development that had actually played a large part in developing some of the major British small arms during the war. Some of the ideas were Churchill's own, such as the advanced 'W Bomb', while others were made in response to operational requirements. What really stood out was the innovation and desire to succeed that drove these projects on - despite the quirky approach many of these weapons, like the PIAT, the sticky bomb and the new detonator switches, really contributed to victory on VE Day."

Churchill’s Toyshop premieres on Discovery Channel UK on Friday May 22nd at 9pm.

A trailer is available here.



Date: 11 May 2015

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