We already know that the 2010 Biggin Hill International Air Fair was the last such event after the contract to hold the event was cancelled by the Airport. However, it is fondly remembered by many as one of the best ever Air Fairs ever with a superb tribute to the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. As such, we hoped to for a very high quality production covering the event.
This year’s DVD is produced by “Thier Finest Hour” which is a company specialising in all things “Battle of Britain.” They have been a regular sight at many shows this year with their replica aircraft and other artefacts. From the outset of the production, it is clear that the production company have tried to produce a very different DVD to the norm. There is plenty of archive recording of Churchill’s speeches and video footage.
One of the good aspects of the DVD is the number of interviews conducted with both air and ground crews. The various sections are presented by airshow commentator and display pilot Brendan O’Brien who does manage to convey his enthusiasm for display flying very well and he is joined by Jenny Gayner. It is good to see that the producers have tried to convey something of the spirit of the Air Fair on the ground as well as in the air
One of the real high points of this year’s Air Fair was the superb mix of flying set against some gorgeous blue summer skies providing some superb content. While the DVD is recorded in broadcast standard quality some of the the flying sequences are particularly shaky with the aircraft bouncing around the corners of the screen at an alarming rate. With a few displays, the image quality also seems to drop off; it’s particularly poor for the Typhoon solo display.
There are also issues with the sound quality. The DVD has a constant music soundtrack of some very well known classical music over-played with ambient noises from the airshows. While I certainly don’t mind music providing the backdrop for displays, the constant music does become slightly irritating over the two hours. There are some dubbing errors and at times it seems the Blades have re-engined their Extras with Rolls Royce Merlins!! There are also some interviews that are just lost under the music and ambient noise such as the Team Viper and the French Air Force Alpha Jet interview. The final issue with this DVD are just too many captioning errors to ignore. Perhaps the most serious is the “Spitfire and F4 finale” though there also crew names that are reproduced incorrectly despite the crews are wearing name badges which are clearly visible to the viewer!
Sadly this DVD fails to hit the mark in terms of other airshow DVDs produced this year and previous Biggin Hill Air Fair videos and DVDs. While the background content is very welcome and very good, it is let down by poor production and many little irritating errors and the constant musical score. Having said that, it is a unique look at the last ever Biggin Hill Air Fair and in itself is a reminder of a little piece of history that took place in Kent’s skies in late June 2010 that will never be repeated!