Heroes Of The Skies

About the show

Find out more about this ground-breaking, new dramatised documentary series.

Heroes Of The Skies

Heroes Of The Skies is a new six-part documentary series, which airs on Channel 5 from Thursday 20th September at 8pm

Presented by Lord Ashcroft, Heroes Of The Skies is an ambitious, ground-breaking programme that tells the stories of some of the most heroic airborne combat missions from history.

Using vintage aircraft such as Spitfires fighters and Lancaster bombers, aerial stunt teams and state-of-the-art camera technology, the series brings to life the exploits of the world's greatest military air heroes. 

The series features realistic mid-air combat sequences, revealing interviews with the last surviving veterans, rare archive footage and cutting-edge CGI to transport viewers back in time to experience the reality of air combat.

Comments (69)

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  • Koczar Koenig

    over 1 year ago

    Koczar Koenig

    Oh yes....forgot....Russian pilots....like Alexey Maresyev. He also log both legs like Bader...but he crawled many miles with broken legs back to his lines after being shot down. He flew again!...I guess you can't cover them all...but some perspective to what a Hero's is wouldn't go a miss.

  • Koczar Koenig

    over 1 year ago

    Koczar Koenig

    Interesting enough...but for a British program...should of had more episodes on RAF (Commonwealth) pilots. I assume the high number of US episodes was to sell it to US tv stations...again pandering to US tv to make money. Still.. as for a US pilot, Major George Preddy would have been a better subject than Francis Gabreski. Shot down 6 109's in under 5mins ...while basically drunk!..and whom I.. and many others.. believe had shot down more aircraft than Gabreski. But the US wanted hero's from the war....They didn't want folks knowing they shot down and killed their best pilot...Major Preddy was killed by US AAA on Christmas Day 1944...with a score of 26.83 vics...a core which was short of what be really scored. Plus "Hero's of the Skies" ?...German pilots were hero's in the eyes of their own people..and also very brave men...with victories scores which made Allied pilots look like beginners..But as they say..History is written by the victors.

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  • Ray Doran.

    over 1 year ago

    Ray Doran.

    missed one or two episodes,was there any mention of the Irishman Paddy Finucane youngest ever R.A.F. wing commander who shot down 26 or more enemy aircraft .

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  • Garry Maskell.

    over 1 year ago

    Garry Maskell.

    Good work Lord Ashcroft do you need researchers? Have some great ideas on subjects not touched upon yet.How about the sandy pilots in vietnam ? If you need my help please get in touch.

  • Garry Maskell.

    over 1 year ago

    Garry Maskell.

    Good work Lord Ashcroft do you need researchers? Have some great ideas on subjects not touched upon yet.How about the sandy pilots in vietnam ? If you need my help please get in touch.

  • Julian Hall

    over 1 year ago

    Julian Hall

    Beg pardon.. I obviously lost count.. so it was 4:2 American:British.. remind me again how many countries fought in the air war?

  • Julian Hall

    over 1 year ago

    Julian Hall

    Wondering why thus far, the series has had three Americans and two British Heroes - in fact one was an American *unit* not a Hero as such, albeit very brave men of course. Why no Pierre Clostermann or Sailor Malan etc? If it's a 6 part series, the very least will be half American. Disappointed.

  • Richard Hollier

    over 1 year ago

    Richard Hollier

    The information of contradictory facts is a surprise but very believable considering the way in which it was presented. It's made me look at the series in a different way. It's also taken some of the impact from the comment I wish to make that the awful soundtrack detracted so much from the content. Why do programme makers insist in almost drowning out commentary? After a short time, it becomes extremely irritating.

  • Steve Roberts

    over 1 year ago

    Steve Roberts

    The programme is welcome as it keeps the memories of a generation of heroes alive. However, it would be nice if the production team got somebody with a knowledge of the equipment and uniform of the time to 'proof-watch' each episode to highlight obvious inaccuracies. It has to be accepted that existing real aircraft can't always be painted accurately as the owners won't want to play around with them too much but I think it should be possible for the computer generated sections to be visually accurate.

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  • JB

    over 1 year ago

    JB

    The earlier programmes I enjoyed but turned the latest one, about the Vietnam Fighter Pilot, off part way through as it seemed so full of inaccuracies. One particular incident in Lord Ashcrofts's book is more a work of fiction which sadly makes me wonder how accurate the rest of them were.

  • Pappadom

    over 1 year ago

    Pappadom

    I do hope this excellent series makes it onto DVD

  • duncan

    over 1 year ago

    duncan

    Hope we will see more of these sories,in a second series ,lets hope !well done channel 5.

  • Night-fighter

    over 1 year ago

    Night-fighter

    Must admit, disappointment due to fact I thought the series was about WW II aviators, not post war pilots.

  • jimhooper.co.uk

    over 1 year ago

    jimhooper.co.uk

    The segment on Robin Olds was so poorly researched and produced that I had to switch channels halfway through. Allow to mention the most egregious errors. 1. There were numerous inferences suggesting that the majority of US losses were at the hands of VNAF fighters. This is incorrect. Most US losses were due to AAA and SAMs, while the overall air-to-air kill ratio was 1.7:1 in favour of the Americans. 2. The F-105 fighter-bomber was not "slow and lumbering". Cleaned up, it was as fast as the MiG-21. Although not as maneuverable as the Migs it faced, the F-105 shot down 27 MiG fighters and lost 17 in air-to-air combat. Hundreds more were lost to AAA and SAMs. 3. American morale was not affected by losses to enemy fighters, but rather to the restrictions placed by President Johnson and Secretary of Defence MacNamara. By stipulating the routes which they fly into NVN, the SAMs, AAA batteries and MiGs were always waiting. 4. Olds did not "climb back into a cockpit for the first time since WWII". He was a professional fighter pilot with thousands of hours of flight time between 1945 and his return to combat in Vietnam. 5. USAF officers do not wear their caps or salute indoors, nor wear caps that are two sizes too big at heretofore unseen angles. The veterans who were interviewed for the programme must have shaken their heads at such absurdities. 6. In his trip to Saigon to gain permission for Op Bolo, Olds is wearing US Army tans rather than USAF blues. In point of fact, he would have worn short sleeve Air Force khakis. 7. The producers of this embarrasingly bad "documentary" also overlooked his trademark handlebar mustache. Lord Ashcroft, for whom i have considerable admiration, really needs to grab his writers, producers and directors by the scruff of the neck and give 'em a good shake.

  • Mike

    over 1 year ago

    Mike

    There are so many fantastic documentaries on the television nowadays but unfortunately I cannot watch them. Why? because of the fad most camera people have of jerking the picture about , in and out of focus, three different scenes per second, dull roaring noises every scene change. Do these program makers think that we are all incapable of sitting and watching a documentary without turning it into mind boggling video game?

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  • Clive Mainwaring

    over 1 year ago

    Clive Mainwaring

    I have just watched the 3rd program about Norman Jackson, they were all heroes, but this man showed bravery above, (literally) and beyond his duties. I cried for these young men who fought for what they believed in Freedom, Lest We Forget, never rang so true for these lads at the peak of their youth. May God hold them in the palm of his hand forever. From One who will never forget.

  • Nige

    over 1 year ago

    Nige

    Superb series ,very much enjoying it ! a true testament to the bravery and character of this incredible generation . I'm with the few who noticed inaccuracies. I only wish the costume dept was a little more descering with the equipment used , eg .seeing the crew of the Lancaster, using Cold war era Soviet oxygen masks and cheap knock off helmets was a let down. A bit like seeing the cast of Warhorse wearing camo fatques . spoilt the illusion somwhat for those of us in the know . but Congrats C5 for an otherwise stunning series

  • Matelot892

    over 1 year ago

    Matelot892

    All those young lives lost. So much really is owed.

  • Tallpaul19

    over 1 year ago

    Tallpaul19

    Just finished watching episode 3 about the incredible hero Norman Jackson. What amazing heroes all the brave aircrew were who risked their lives to take the war to Germany. What cruel fate to be shot down on their last mission.

  • Villageoldman

    over 1 year ago

    Villageoldman

    Having both parents in WW2 I have told my children ,we are the lucky generation . Thanks for a great series.

  • Helen Sandelands

    over 1 year ago

    Helen Sandelands

    I felt emotional watching this last night. I'd always been aware of the family story and remember Uncle Ernie talking about the book he was going to write. As a language student in 1980 I spent 3 months in - Schweinfurt! - and returned there on my bike recently.

  • bartman

    over 1 year ago

    bartman

    some people talking about inaccuracies of the such things as the camo schemes should realise this series is about the heroes who flew the planes not so much the planes themselves which in fairness have programmes after programmes about them.i personally was more interested in the storiea of those brave young men (on both sides whogave there lives to the cause and that goes for the 1s who survived as well as those who died because they all went up knowing the odds were against them coming back) rather than making sure the camo was correct for the location.its just nit picking at a very good series telling the stories of a few out of all the heroes of skies during ww2.top marks for a great serious keep them coming

  • bartman

    over 1 year ago

    bartman

    some people talking about inaccuracies of the such things as the camo schemes should realise this series is about the heroes who flew the planes not so much the planes themselves which in fairness have programmes after programmes about them.i personally was more interested in the storiea of those brave young men (who gave there lives to the cause and that goes for the 1s who survived as well as those who died because they all went up knowing the odds were against them coming back) rather than making sure the camo was correct for the location.its just nit picking at a very good series telling the stories of a few out of all the heroes of skies during ww2.top marks for a great serious keep them coming

  • Julie Sandelands

    over 1 year ago

    Julie Sandelands

    My husband whose father Ernie (Sandy) Sandelands was part of the crew featured on tonight's episode. We are very proud of him and all the crew that he flew with. Norman Jacksons actions that night were heroic as were that of Fred Mifflin who gave his life to save his crew. Ernie wrote His memories of the events of that night, they make very emotional and humbling reading. How very brave these men were. Never to be forgotten.

  • Lawson Marshall

    over 1 year ago

    Lawson Marshall

    Just watched the episode about bomber command and i only hope that all those concerned with the shocking behaviour of civil servants who will not fulfill their obligations to completely fund the bomber command memorial. i only hope that by watching this programme they will be shamed into doing the right thing to those brave men who sacrificed everything for their king and country. when in berlin recently i paid a visit to the british war cemetry and was extremely astonished at how young the men were who laid down their lives and aid the ultimate sacrifice. I HOPE THAT CAMERON AND ALL THE REST OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE!!!!

  • GA

    over 1 year ago

    GA

    My Grandfather was part of a Lancaster Bomber crew, He was involved in Operation Manna. I would love for him to tell his story on a series like this.

  • cap chris sawyer camberley, surrey.

    over 1 year ago

    cap chris sawyer camberley, surrey.

    These films are better than watching or being subjected to a lot of baby talk by anyone from the house of commons.Keep em coming .

  • Phil

    over 1 year ago

    Phil

    Is the series coming out on DVD?

  • Vince

    over 1 year ago

    Vince

    For the benefit of the correspondant who asked: "Just out of curiosity, what are some of the inaccuracies people have noticed"? (Anon) In the otherwise very good programme on George Beurling there is a sequence showing newsreel footage of Morane Saulnier 406's, obviously taken at the time of the Fall of France, May 1940, smack in the middle of the Siege of Malta, 1942. There are also sequences showing Beurling and his compatriots on the ground with Spitfire Mk XI's in camouflage totally out of place on Malta, but used by the RAF from late 1941 onwards in Northern Europe, i.e. upper surfaces painted Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey. The flying sequences do rectify this error and show Spitfire Mk Vb Trop. aircraft engaging Luftwaffe fighters, for the most part in colour schemes appropriate for the Mediterranean theatre of War in 1942. I don't recall seeing any footage sneaked in surreptitiously from the "Battle of Britain" film cuttings, which is always a good escape clause for production teams, as it saves time and production costs. I always get the impression that research teams are better at textual elements than they are at the visual: they see the 'Big Picture' but have a weak 'Eye for detail'., labelling those that spot the anomalies as mere 'Anoraks' and therefore unworthy of consideration. Perhaps the makers of documentaries such as this see the target audience as more accepting, since it could be assumed that their audience will be less knowledgable about the subject matter. I accept that the analysis given above may be far too critical and that the details can get in the way of telling a really good story about an exceptional airman.

  • A Fan

    over 1 year ago

    A Fan

    Thoroughly enjoyed episode two - Adam Drew was very watchable!

  • Anon

    over 1 year ago

    Anon

    Just out of curiosity, what are some of the inaccuracies people have noticed?

  • Mary Heath

    over 1 year ago

    Mary Heath

    Been a fan of Bader since Reach for the Sky was published. He was an arrogant and self opinioniated man and many could not equate with that. But without that streak he could not have overcome the difficulties he faced after losing his legs and then getting back in the air. True the accident was his fault but flyers like him have this 'must do' thing within them. We have to be greatful to him and all his co-flyers for the job they did then and this should never be forgotten. He was just what 242 needed at a time we were desparate for every pilot. Just don't turn it into CHEAP TV. Some of the video footage a bit over the top and shouldn't keep showing the same shots for different events! However, such characters are an inspiration.

  • dan norman

    over 1 year ago

    dan norman

    There are errors which can be annoying, but its better than watching x factor or some useless programme. I personaly enjoyed the second episode (the first still wont play). My Grandfather was at Tangmere Briefly when Barder was. He was groundcrew though and worked on the Famous gloster meteor on its high speed test flight after the war.

  • Richard L

    over 1 year ago

    Richard L

    Brilliant stuff get the shivers watching that action!

  • steve

    over 1 year ago

    steve

    my father in law was in malta during this time and was awarded the george medal for rescuing airman from a burning aircraft

  • ws

    over 1 year ago

    ws

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._303_Polish_Fighter_Squadron see how its done!!!

  • eldritch

    over 1 year ago

    eldritch

    Barder, Screwball, Warby. With out stand alone inspirational people like there and so many others we would be living in very different times.

  • Nigel

    over 1 year ago

    Nigel

    My granfather (RAF) new DB abd was based at the same RAF Staion when he lost his legs. He never liked the chap! Nigel

  • Dave Humphries.

    over 1 year ago

    Dave Humphries.

    Excellent drama documentary if you ignore some of the visual inaccuracies.Lord Ashcroft is basing all of his research on earlier books written by fighter pilots and historians therefore nothing new produced in this documentary by Lord Ashcroft but on the anniversary of the Battle of Britain it is a stand alone testament to the bravery of 'The Few'.

  • Ian Sandum

    over 1 year ago

    Ian Sandum

    No mention of the latest research that indicates he was actually shot down by friendly fire. I Felt the real story of his internal fight and determination was lost amongst cheap dramatics and poor video back up. Lots of factual inaccuracies. Sorry but Very disappointed. Much better programs about Bader already out there.

  • east.yorkie

    over 1 year ago

    east.yorkie

    Really enjoyed watching the first episode which was both informative and entertaining I hope the series continues with the same format. Congratulations to all involved in the production I am looking forward to watching the rest of the series.

  • jmcn1805

    over 1 year ago

    jmcn1805

    One or two errors and liberal use of footage from the movie 'Battle of Britain', nevertheless well worth watching. A welcome change of pace from some the complete rubbish broadcast trotted out by all broadcasters.

  • GrantMurrell

    over 1 year ago

    GrantMurrell

    Although some of the factual errors bother people like ourselves, I still feel this is a great series and tells valuable, historic stories to generations that may not know who and how these epics triumphs were won. It also quite rightly pays true respect to everyone involved and who sacrificed so much for us!

  • GrantMurrell

    over 1 year ago

    GrantMurrell

    Despite there being a few factual mistakes which clearly bother people like us, I still feel the documentary possesses enormous value.For the most part it was accurate and goes a long way to telling these great and historic stories to so many people who unlike us don't know already know of them nor the people involved. These are important stories to be told to the world and they give dues respect to all these legendary people involved.

  • bikerged

    over 1 year ago

    bikerged

    I'm currently reading a book written by Gunther Bloemertz,he was in the combat that downed Bader,at the time 'The Abbeville boys' were flying FW190's not BF109's & Bader was at Abbeville when the replacement legs were dropped to him.I enjoyed the programme very much & hope the rest of the series is as good.I'd like to see some credit given to the Luftwaffe pilots who flew during WW2 also,not many of them were Nazi's,just young men doing the same job as ours under a different flag.

  • maggie

    over 1 year ago

    maggie

    My boyfriend says there is more than one mistake on here.

  • Fred

    over 1 year ago

    Fred

    The CGI sequences have the WRONG aircraft types. How on earth can the production team with so many resources make such a fundamental error?

  • Mark Deitch

    over 1 year ago

    Mark Deitch

    Watch out for Adam Drew as Canadian Air Ace George Beurling airing on September 27th.

  • Mark Deitch

    over 1 year ago

    Mark Deitch

    Watch out for Adam Drew as Canadian Air Ace George Beurling in the episode airing on September 27th!

  • Mark

    over 1 year ago

    Mark

    Jim: The US version will be airing at a later date under the title "AIR ACES". Discovery Military I believe.

  • Jim

    over 1 year ago

    Jim

    How can I view this is the US

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  • Sally Winter

    over 1 year ago

    Sally Winter

    I can't wait to see this. We have to protect these memories by keeping them alive, especially with regard to the last remaining veterans who lost so many comrades. Not enough of this is taught in schools - it s often skimmed over in favour of ancient history.

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