Beat The Ancestors

Beat The Ancestors

Engineer and eco-warrior Dick Strawbridge challenges a team of modern-day engineers to rebuild some of history’s most impressive machines and to use their 21st-century knowledge to improve them.

We may think that we are the smartest generation to have lived, but once the playing field is levelled and past faces present in a head-to-head contest, which will triumph? Ancient genius is revealed and modern ingenuity tested as the team gets to work on a medieval machine gun, a Roman war machine, a Byzantine fire boat, a Gothic mega crane and Churchill’s rocket parachute.

Dick Strawbridge presents the series and acts as ringmaster at Build HQ. “Our ancestors have made us who we are today. This series allows us to celebrate those amazing people who changed the world into the one we now live in,” he says. “It's great fun and a little scary. I love the fact that, if we are limited to the materials our forebears had, we really struggle to design and out-perform machines centuries-old, even with all our 21st century knowledge and skills.”

Once proceedings are under way, Dick uses spectacular CGI to explore the original machines and reveal how they changed history. Meanwhile, the engineers grapple with historical blueprints, original building materials and whatever modern insights they can bring to the challenges set.

At the end of three days, the new machines are put through a series of exacting tests. How will they compare to the originals?

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