From stand-up to straight acting and documentaries, Eddie Izzard is a class act. So in September 2014 when I heard that he was starring in the BBC’s Castles in the Sky I had to drop everything and watch it.
It’s a sort-of-wartime drama about Scottish inventor Robert Watson-Watt’s (i.e. Eddie’s) struggle to develop a radar detection system, despite the concerted efforts of the British Establishment to foil his work.
The fools! Can’t they see what’s happening? The proverbial storm clouds? Which are gathering over Europe? With WWII just around the corner – and the Luftwaffe too?
But to develop his radar yoke, Watson-Watt will need the right eggheads and proper equipment, and he’s being stymied at every step. Whitehall says feck off, your brilliant system makes about as much sense to us (I’m paraphrasing here) as, say, the bouncing bomb. Or the dreaded Dalek that can go up stairs. Or a 2016 remake of Dad’s Army.
I won’t spoil the ending. Oh go on then: I will. The radar system swings into action, the RAF chaps win the Battle of Britain, Kenneth More reaches for the sky and sinks the Bismarck, the rest is history, and Eddie (OK, I mean Robert Watson-Watt) gets a well deserved knighthood.
It’s a grand little yarn, a modest TV drama with a certain charm, and Eddie was great in it. I enjoyed it, even though the Telegraph reviewer slated it and some anoraks questioned a few historical details like what model of aircraft they used in Act II Scene IIII and so on.
So I did a very quick tweet about it at the time. Hardly a review as such, just a couple of dozen words. Imagine my surprise this afternoon when the BBC Store resurrected that very same tweet to publicise the DVD of the film.
Guess that makes me a sort of official Eddie Izzard product endorser, which is a great honour. And – best of all – @eddieizzard retweeted it too.