Episode Guides

This innovative series tells the story of eight battles to design and build the fastest cars, ships, planes, boats and trains

About the Show

This innovative series tells the story of eight battles to design and build the fastest cars, ships, planes, boats and trains

Series 1 Summary

The series focuses on the history of speed and the intense rivalry between different ships, planes, cars and trains in their bid to be the fastest. Combining stories of technological advance with tales of individual heroism, Speed Machines captures the spirit of an age when speed was all-important.

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    Episode 1 - Great Ocean Liners

    The 1930s was a highpoint for ocean-going liners. Crossing the Atlantic by boat was the only way to reach the US, and competition between the French and British shipyards was never less than fierce, a focus for patriotic pride.

    The British Queen Mary and French Normandie epitomised the golden age of the ocean liners. They were among the floating Art Deco palaces that competed intensely to win the Blue Riband - a prize for the fastest Atlantic crossing. A Holy Grail for the two countries, this prize was also a great bit of marketing.

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    Episode 2 - The Flying Boats

    The second in a new eight-part series on the history of speed between different ships, planes, cars and trains in their bid to be the fastest. Tonight looks at the golden age of flying boats.

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    Episode 3 - Record Breaking Steam Trains

    The series about the history of speed and the intense rivalry to be the fastest revisits the golden age of the train, when in the 30s, Britain's railway network was the envy of the world.

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    Episode 4 - The Speed Boat Kings

    The Speed Boat Kings: The series about the greatest contests of speed revisits the fast, furious and all-too-often deadly powerboat races of the 1920s and '30s.

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    Episode 5 - Breaking the Sound Barrier

    Tonight's programme tells the story of the battle to break the sound barrier, featuring stunning archive footage and talks to the men who designed and flew these incredible aircraft.

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    Episode 6 - Cutty Sark and the Great Clippers

    Cutty Sark And The Great Clippers: Recaptures the great days of sail power, detailing the races, technology and characters involved with archive footage and first-hand testimonies.

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    Episode 7 - Bentley v Mercedes

    Bentley v Mercedes: This programme in the series looks at the two famous motoring dynasties who played a key role in the evolution of sports cars and motor racing in the 1920s and '30s.

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    Episode 8 - The Land Speed Record

    The Land Speed Record: The eighth and final episode of the series on the history of speed recalls the titanic battle between Malcolm Campbell and Henry Segrave in the 1920s and '30s.

Speed Machines synopsis

This innovative series tells the story of eight battles to design and build the fastest cars, ships, planes, boats and trains

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