Saturday, December 2, 2023

Thurrock director Matt Harris tells the story of the creation of iconic Lancaster bomber

THURROCK-based film director Matt Harris was one of the leading lights behind a documentary aired this weekend telling the story behind the development of the Lancaster bomber.

“The Lancaster at 80”, which was narrated by Sir David Jason, looks at the incredible speed with which the iconic plane was designed and deployed along with its legacy and key role in winning the Second World War.

It was shown on Channel Four and can still be viewed on catch-up via this link.

The documentary features contributions from historians James Holland and Alexandra Churchill, authors Leo McKinstry and Mark Johnson along with aviation enthusiast and TV presenter Arthur Williams.

It gives an insight into the story of how the Lancaster came to be along with some funny insights along the way.

Matt says: “Producer Tom Scott Evans and I spent the summer running around the country travelling as far as the AVRO museum near Manchester to the heart of bomber county in Lincolnshire.

“It was a whirlwind of a shoot with hours and hours of interviews that were almost impossible to cut down to a single TV show – the stories were incredible and I came away with the utmost respect for anyone who had the courage to climb aboard one of these incredible aircraft. 

“It’s quite simply staggering the courage they showed when they knew they had a 50/50 chance of coming back alive.”

“A real highlight for me was meeting and interviewing the veterans, particularly John Henry Meller, a 96-year-old former Radio officer who was incredibly humble – and funny, he later became a detective at Scotland Yard working on cases like the Krays and the Great Train Robbery so he has had an absolutely incredible life.” 

“With literally only a handful of these veterans still left alive its is so important to tell their stories like this while we can. They really were an astonishing generation and I hope the film we created really shows this.”

You can see more of the work of Matt Harris via this link.

Matt, from Grays, started out as an underwater photographer living in the Marshall Islands and was asked to shoot his first bit of underwater footage for a Brazilian TV Channel back in 1997.

He says: “I’ve shot a lot of branded content and corporate promos in recent years and love working on real life high quality documentary and have dipped my toe into narrative and music video in recent years.”

Matt’s first full length documentary was the acclaimed Rom Boys :40 Years of Rad which he produced, directed and shot (and edited). It won the best feature documentary at the 2020 Paris Surf and Skate Film Festival. And it is also a semi-finalist for best cinematography in the documentary category at the NY Cinematographers awards due later in 2021.


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