OSF are looking for people with a professional interest in aviophobia (fear of flying). We would particularly like to hear from psychologists and experienced pilots; military or airline, serving or recently retired. We welcome applications from minorities. If you or someone you know might be interested please get in touch as soon as possible. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
With some 60 plus million pets we Brits are a nation of animal lovers. But now we don’t just want our pets to be cute we want them to be clever. This programme features pet owners who are convinced that their furry friend is cleverer than the rest.
All the pets featured are remarkable in their own way. One canine brainbox goes to doggie university, another – dubbed a canine Einstein – makes the news when he masters a shape-sorting puzzle most toddlers struggle with. Prize pooch Barlie takes us into the competitive world of trick dogs, where the pets have to master increasingly difficult skills to become trick champions.
But it’s not just standard pets. Science is showing that even supposedly dumb farm animals like goats and donkeys are much cleverer than we might have thought.
You might wonder what the point is. Of all the owners the most fiercely competitive is Kimberley from Kent. She hopes by proving how incredibly smart Melanie her north American raccoon is it will help stop them being persecuted in their native home. Kimberley’s taught Melanie’s an incredible array of skills, including pushing a toddler’s scooter and riding a bike.
So determined to prove that Melanie is way smarter than even the smartest dog Kimberley enters Melanie into a Britain’s smartest dog competition. Who will come out on top in this canine v raccoon showdown?
Sky 1 explores the extraordinary ability of dogs in Dogs Might Fly, a brand new factual series presented by Jamie Theakston, that will lead even the most devoted dog lovers to see their pets in a whole new light.
In six 60-minute episodes that prove dogs have distinct personalities and incredible levels of intelligence, a team of experts –Victoria Stilwell, Charlotte Wilde, Adam Miklósi and Mark Vette – explore communication, empathy, memory and reasoning with the animals, asking the ultimate question: could a dog fly a plane?
As well as scientific studies that test their ability to reason, communicate and solve problems, we witness what dogs are truly capable of when they come together in some spectacular theatrical performances.
According to a survey by the Dogs Trust, around 120,000 dogs end up in UK rescue centres each year. Another 5,000 are put down by local authorities. A nationwide search of rescue centres found some of Britain’s most extraordinary canine characters, all bursting with potential.
Working with a team of animal welfare specialists, including an animal welfare director, trainers, a vet and kennel hands, dogs that enjoy and respond to training are slowly acclimatised to different sensations and stimulus. The series helps the animals reveal their amazing hidden abilities in the care of trainers, behaviourists and vets and ultimately each dog is found a loving new home. In episode 1, three of the world’s leading dog experts conduct a nationwide search of rescue shelters across the UK to find the most remarkable canines for this ground-breaking project. At a luxurious mansion in the Sussex countryside, the successful candidates are brought together for ten weeks of specialised training, revealing how clever our favourite four-legged friends really are. The underdogs will be turned into top dogs and a chosen few will go on to flight school to take on the ultimate challenge: learning to fly a single engine aircraft.
Dogs Might Fly is produced by Oxford Scientific Films and GroupM Entertainment and airs Sundays at 7pm on Sky 1.
Channel 4 history documentary to explore extraordinary “Calling Blighty” films, featuring Manchester based soldiers from “The Forgotten Army” in the Burma Campaign of WWII.
For the first time in 70 years, the films will be shown to veterans and families at a special screening.
Oxford Scientific Films (OSF), in association with Manchester’s North West Film Archive and the Imperial War Museums, has been commissioned to produce a 1 x 60’ special (working title – “Calling Blighty”) for Channel 4, honouring Britain’s “Forgotten Army” through unique filmed messages they sent home to their nearest and dearest.
For these troops – fighting a savage battle against the Japanese in Burma and India – home leave wasn’t possible, post was slow, and sometimes letters didn’t get home at all. Some left behind pregnant wives or elderly parents who would pass away before they returned, or young children who would barely recognise them by the time they came home.
Fighting in far flung jungles, soldiers suffered from tropical diseases. Morale was low, so the Ministry of Defence decided upon a scheme to provide a much needed boost for the disaffected soldiers in the Far East and their families back home.
That scheme was “Calling Blighty.” The films – a series of personal messages home to loved ones – were sent back, and families were invited to cinema screenings to try and catch a glimpse of their relatives on screen – some of whom had tragically died by the time the films reached home.
Now, OSF and Channel 4 will bring together some of the incredible, real life stories of the troops featured in the “Calling Blighty” films – and the families they left behind on the home front in wartime Manchester – through archive film, letters and photographs, along with interviews with veterans and relatives. Thanks to this landmark project, many of the relatives will come together to see the “Calling Blighty” films for the first time at a special screening.
Emma Morgan, Head of Popular Factual at OSF, said: “When we first heard about the North West Film Archive’s incredible discovery of the lost Calling Blighty film reels and their plan to contact the veterans and their families, we thought it was a unique, very personal and highly emotional way to tell the story of the everyday heroes from the North West who found themselves fighting in an extremely tough and often forgotten episode of World War II.”
Rob Coldstream, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4, said: “The Calling Blighty film reels are such an exciting historic discovery. In many ways these brave service men and women were the forgotten heroes of World War II, so it is an honour to be able to bring their moving personal stories to life again after 70 years.”
The programme will be executive produced by Emma Morgan and produced and directed by Paul Berczeller. It is set to air in 2016.