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True North on filming in armed Typhoons during live military operations

“Through perseverance and the kind cooperation of the RAF, the end result feels like a genuine televisual first.”

The Leeds team behind Top Guns: Inside the RAF have explained the difficulties of filming in fighter planes on live military operations.

Airing next week on Channel 4, the new documentary follows the men and women based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

The production team had access to the cockpit, flight deck and station HQ as the crews worked to defend the skies over Britain.

“The challenge of going inside any institution for the first time brings with it a mix of excitement and trepidation,” said Mark Tattersall, Executive Producer for True North.

“RAF Lossiemouth is a rich precinct; 3,500 service personnel, MOD Civil Servants and Defence contractors whose focus each day is on defending the UK from any threat.”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the RAF has been stepping up preparation in case the war escalates. This is the first time that a documentary crew has been given such wide-ranging access to the RAF.

“Filming in armed Typhoon fast jets and cutting-edge Poseidon surveillance aircraft is never easy, but doing it observationally, on the edge of national security boundaries and on live military operations tackling Russia or Islamic State, resulted in a huge test for the entire production team,” continued Tattersall.

The show features Jake Desmond, who’s been sent to NATO’s frontline to face off against three Russian jets, pilot Ben Chergui who faces a life-or-death decision over Syria and young pilot ‘Buzz’ who encounters a Russian aircraft over Syria when his wingman suffers a cockpit emergency.

Tattersall added:

“Through perseverance and the kind cooperation of the RAF, the end result feels like a genuine televisual first – cockpit action taking audiences into the heart of RAF missions mixed with a comprehensive look inside RAF Lossiemouth at a time of unprecedented activity.”

The show airs on Monday at 9pm on Channel 4.

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