COMIC and actor Eddie Izzard is starring in a new film being shot in Edinburgh as a Scottish inventor whose brainchild helped the RAF win the Battle of Britain.
The BBC production is the latest high-profile film shoot in the Capital, following the likes of Filth and Sunshine on Leith, and will see Izzard play the role of inventor Sir Robert Watson-Watt.
Brechin-born Sir Robert developed an early warning radar system that allowed the RAF to detect and intercept German aircraft, and it is hoped the film will help bring him recognition from new generations of Britons.
The news comes at a good time for Sir Robert’s legacy, as his supporters celebrate his inclusion in the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.
A bronze memorial to the inventor has also been completed by Midlothian-based sculptor Alan B Herriot and is in storage at an Edinburgh foundry, ahead of its siting in St Ninian’s Square in the Angus town.
Mr Herriot, whose studio is based in Howgate, said: “It’s splendid that filming is under way in Edinburgh and that his story is being told in this way.
“The memorial is destined for Brechin and was commissioned by the Watson-Watt Heritage Society – and for a man who arguably helped win the Second World War, it is long overdue.”
Arabella Page-Croft, who is from Brechin, is a co-producer on the film, produced by Black Camel Pictures of Glasgow with director Gillies MacKinnon, whose credits include Hideous Kinky with Kate Winslet, and Regeneration with Johnny Lee Miller.
Sir Robert’s research has influenced much of today’s technology, including air traffic control and satellite navigation systems. A descendant of James Watt, the 18th century engineer and inventor of the steam engine, Sir Robert was an unsung hero of the Second World War.
He was responsible for the Chain Home radar system, which stretched up the east coast of England and was crucial to the defence of Britain against the Luftwaffe from 1939 throughout the war. His early-warning system was able to identify allied aircraft and therefore tell whether a plane approaching the United Kingdom was likely to be Luftwaffe.
Rosie Ellison, film manager at Marketing Edinburgh, said: “It’s wonderful that having had so much filming in Edinburgh, we’re still welcoming filmmakers here to produce content of the city on the small screen. Edinburgh’s doors are always open to filmmakers.”
AFTER the war, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the inventor of the radar, moved to Canada.
It was there he was caught speeding by a police officer brandishing a radar
gun, pulled over and given a fine.
He reportedly told the officer: “Had I known what you were going to do with it, I would never have invented it.”