The Best Episodes Directed by Ian Duncan

Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb

#1 - Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb

Channel 4 (UK) Documentaries Season 2011 - Episode 6

In 1939, a visionary aircraft designer called Barnes Wallis had an idea. He would design a very special bomb that would bounce across water and destroy German dams. The raid in 1943 was a success and a 1950s feature film carried the the Dambusters story into British legend. The science behind the bouncing bomb is highly complex, and many of Barnes Wallis's vital working calculations have been lost. Cambridge engineer Dr Hugh Hunt sets out in an to attempt to solve this scientific puzzle. Starting from scratch, he rediscovers the brilliance of Wallis's achievement when he tries to hit a dam with a bouncing bomb. It is the first time this has been attempted since the war. Hugh will be assisted by dam engineers, explosives experts, mechanics and pilots who specialise in low altitude flying. A vintage Second World War aircraft is modified to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum.

star 8.50
54 votes
Bombing Hitler's Dams

#2 - Bombing Hitler's Dams

NOVA Season 39 - Episode 2

In 1943 a squadron of Lancaster bombers staged one of the most audacious raids in military history: destroying two gigantic dams in Germany’s industrial heartland and cutting the water supply to arms factories. Their secret weapon? A revolutionary bouncing bomb invented by British engineer Barnes Wallis. Wallis and the pilots of 617 Squadron—a lively mix of Britons, Australians, Americans, and Canadians—were hailed as heroes who dealt a mighty blow to the German war machine. Now, NOVA recreates the extreme engineering challenges faced by Wallis and the pilots. A crack team of experts, including dam engineers, explosives specialists, mechanics, and aircrew, steps into the shoes of the "dambusters" and attempts to overcome each of the obstacles the original team faced. They must adapt a vintage World War II DC-4 to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum, train to drop it from a dangerously low altitude in pitch darkness, and get it to bounce over obstacles and onto the target, a scale model the German dam struck by the original dambusters. Can they succeed in destroying the dam and unraveling the mysteries of the one-of-a-kind bouncing bomb?

star 7.72
102 votes
Escape From Nazi Alcatraz

#3 - Escape From Nazi Alcatraz

NOVA Season 41 - Episode 12

Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be escape-proof. But in the dark days at the end of World War II, a group of British officers dreamt up the ultimate escape plan: in a secret attic workshop, they constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards. Their plan was to fly to freedom from the roof of the castle, but the war ended before they could put it to the test. Now a crack team of aero engineers and carpenters rebuild the glider in the same attic using the same materials, and they’ll do something the prisoners never got a chance to try: use a bathtub full of concrete to catapult the glider off the roof of the castle. As the hair-raising launch 90 feet up draws near, the program explores the Colditz legend and exposes the secrets of other ingenious and audacious escapes. Then, after a 70-year wait, the team finally finds out if the legendary glider plan would have succeeded.

star 7.36
59 votes
Zeppelin Terror Attack

#4 - Zeppelin Terror Attack

NOVA Season 41 - Episode 2

In the early days of World War I, Germany, determined to bring its British enemies to their knees, launched a new kind of terror campaign: bombing civilians from the sky. But the aircraft delivering the lethal payloads weren’t planes. They were Zeppelins, enormous airships, some the length of two football fields. With a team of engineers, explosives experts, and historians, NOVA investigates the secrets behind these deadly war machines. "Zeppelin Terror Attack" explores the technological arms race that unfolded as Britain desperately scrambled to develop defenses that could neutralize the threat, while Germany responded with ever bigger and more powerful Zeppelins. Why were these German monsters of the sky, filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas, so difficult to shoot down? How were their massive gas bags pieced together from the intestines of millions of cows? Experts reconstruct and detonate deadly WWI incendiary bombs and test fire antique flaming bullets, all to discover how the British came up with the unique artillery that would finally take down the biggest flying machines ever made. This also aired on the following: • Channel 4 (UK) Documentaries - S2013E46 - Attack of the Zeppelins • NOVA - S41E11 - Zeppelin Terror Attack • National Geographic Documentaries - S2014E08 - Attack Of The Zeppelins

star 7.19
67 votes
Methuselah Tree

#5 - Methuselah Tree

NOVA Season 28 - Episode 18

Marked by striking imagery and a poetic style, the film dramatizes the life cycle of the world's oldest living thing, the bristlecone pine of California's White Mountains.

star 0.00
0 votes