Digging The Great Escape is probably a documentary that we would have watched anyway. But there was an additional reason for us to watch the program, shown last night on Channel 4 at 9pm. My brother was in it.
As an RAF Officer, he was asked, along with four colleagues, to take part in the reconstruction of the events at Stalag Luft III in March 1944, the events that lent themselves to the 1963 film.
Jim and his buddies were asked to try to recreate the techniques used by the prisoners to manufacture the equipment used in the escape. He was first tasked with making a saw out of a gramophone spring, which would have been used to shape the vital wooden tunnel lining which prevented the soft, sandy soil from collapsing.
He then set about forging some identification papers, the quality of which would determine the success or otherwise of the escapees efforts to evade capture.
The program was reviewed, amongst other, by Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent, who wrote 'They made a pretty good fist of the air-pump and underground railway, but I think only Mr Magoo would have been fooled by the false identity papers one of them had produced'. Hey Tom, I understand from Jim that what he made was in fact a carbon copy of an original forgery. Do consider that he had to use the sole of a shoe to make a stamp.
Digging The Great Escape is available to watch again here, for the next 29 days.