Top Guns: Within the RAF
Computers hate us. You can’t blame them; all that intelligence crammed into a tiny circuit board with nowhere to go, it’s inevitable that their little electronic brains will boil with resentment.
The only thing they can do to relieve their frustration is make our lives more difficult. That’s why today’s cars, with microchips that control everything from air conditioning to turn signals, are constantly coming up with new ways to prevent breakdowns.
You can’t put a bag in the back seat without activating the seatbelt sensors, or reverse into a parking space without setting off more alarms than a radioactive leak at Hinkley Point.
The anti-theft siren is programmed to go off every third Monday at 3am, and the navigation system destroys your favorite song on the stereo before announcing: ‘In half a mile, take the fourth street on the left at the second roundabout.’
So you have to sympathize with Typhoon pilot Buzz, who leads an intelligence-gathering flight from Cyprus and over Syria, in Top Weapons: Within the RAF (Chapter 4). When the sensors in a fighter jet go wrong, it is a truly terrifying moment.
You have to sympathize with Typhoon pilot Buzz, who leads an intelligence-gathering flight from Cyprus and over Syria, in Top Guns: Inside The RAF. When the sensors in a fighter jet go wrong, it is a truly terrifying moment
The mission started quietly. While refueling in mid-air, the pilots had little more to worry about than the contents of their packed lunch. The Coronation chicken was okay, but the mayonnaise in the wraps was apparently a bit sloppy.
But when they saw a Russian cargo plane, both pilots lost their appetite. Get too close and the Russians might assume they were trying to start World War III.
Then the sensors in the wingman’s cockpit started beeping, indicating a missile was approaching. Unable to turn off the false warning, the pilots had to make a quick decision: did they assume the worst and eject?
They played it safe and returned to basics. Buzz had spent part of the previous day training for a rescue operation over enemy territory. He had a gun and a pocket full of bills. That might not be a problem for an emergency landing in a place that is only moderately dangerous, like central Glasgow on Saturday evening, but it won’t help if you’re stranded on foot in ISIS-held territory.
Buzz was a bull’s eye with his gun, and behind his sunglasses he looked like one too. He was proud of his name. “There are many famous pilots named Buzz, like Aldrin. . . or Lightyear,” he said. “It’s like Cher, or Adele.” Well, it’s all one word. . . but what about Biggles? I’m not sure if ‘Adele from 266 Squadron’ has the same ring.”
The three selfish siblings in The inheritance (H5) were shocked to discover that their father (Larry Lamb) had carried out his own secret missions, saving their mother’s marriage during her final battle with cancer, in search of love.
While there’s nothing original about this domestic drama, it’s fast-paced and packed with enough subplots to keep us moving along in a hurry (Picture: Robert James-Collier in The Inheritance)
Until Dad was found dead on the hallway floor, drunk up to his eyes, his children had no idea he had remarried. Now they suspect that their secret stepmother Susan (Samantha Bond) killed him.
While there’s nothing original about this domestic drama, it’s fast-moving and packed with enough subplots to keep us in a hurry. After last week’s opener I was worried the pace would slow down, but instead it just picked up.
The devious trio – Gaynor Faye, Jemima Rooper and Robert James-Collier – are all so determined to deceive each other that it begins to look like Susan might turn out to be the heroine of the story, and not the villain.
But the real scene-stealer is Kevin Whately, as an irascible farmer (and Susan’s ex-husband) who greets callers by brandishing a double-barreled shotgun. He reminds me of James Bolam at his grumpiest, and there is no higher praise.