Episodes

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01Richard Holmes - Falling Upwards2013052020180514 (BBC7)
20180515 (BBC7)

The pioneering men and women who risked their lives to travel by hot air balloon.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

In this heartlifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 1 (of 5):
Every balloon tells a story, and more often than not it is one of courage in the face of great perils.

Two determined balloonists take to the skies to raise money for charity. Over two hundred years separate them, but both find themselves sailing out over the sea with nothing but danger ahead.

Read by Rory Kinnear
Abridged and produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Two determined balloonists, 200 years apart, take to the skies to raise money for charity.

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 1 (of 5):

Every balloon tells a story, and more often than not it is one of courage in the face of great perils.

Two determined balloonists take to the skies to raise money for charity. Over two hundred years separate them, but both find themselves sailing out over the sea with nothing but danger ahead.

Read by Rory Kinnear

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

022013052120180515 (BBC7)
20180516 (BBC7)

Why the military, rather than scientists, saw the opportunities offered by flight.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 2 (of 5):
What earthly use is a balloon? Early scientists struggled to grasp the opportunities offered by flight but, in turbulent times, the military were quick to make the most of aerial reconnaissance.

Read by Rory Kinnear
Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

The military are quick to see the potential of balloons for aerial reconnaissance.

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 2 (of 5):

What earthly use is a balloon? Early scientists struggled to grasp the opportunities offered by flight but, in turbulent times, the military were quick to make the most of aerial reconnaissance.

Read by Rory Kinnear

Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

032013052220180516 (BBC7)
20180517 (BBC7)

More compelling tales of the pioneers who risked their lives to travel by hot air balloon.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Read by Rory Kinnear.
Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters.
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Stories of the first balloon aeronauts and mankind's timeless yearning to be airborne.

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Read by Rory Kinnear

Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

042013052320180517 (BBC7)
20180518 (BBC7)

Spectacular displays grew in popularity as women began to perform aerial stunts.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

In this heartlifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 4 (of 5):
Crowd-pleasing entertainments and spectacular displays grew in popularity, with increasing numbers of young women performing aerial stunts from balloons.

Read by Rory Kinnear
Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 4 (of 5):

Crowd-pleasing entertainments and spectacular displays grew in popularity, with increasing numbers of young women performing aerial stunts from balloons.

Read by Rory Kinnear

Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Crowd-pleasing entertainments and spectacular displays grew in popularity.

05 LAST2013052420180518 (BBC7)
20180519 (BBC7)

The story of Salomon Andree and his efforts to reach the North Pole by balloon in 1897.

In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 5 (of 5):

Perhaps the most daring and ambitious of all the balloon adventurers was the Swede, Salomon Andrée, and his efforts to reach the North Pole by balloon in 1897.

Read by Rory Kinnear

Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

In this heartlifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s.

In a compelling adventure story, dramatic sequences include an unscheduled early flight over the North Sea, the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard and the heart-stopping escape of two families from East Germany.

Early balloons also played a role in warfare - with the legendary tale of sixty balloons that escaped Paris during the Prussian siege of 1870, and a memorable flight by General Custer in the American Civil War.

These are stories where scientific genius combines with extraordinary courage and the power of an imagination that dares to claim the airy kingdom for itself.

Episode 5 (of 5):
Perhaps the most daring and ambitious of all the balloon adventurers was the Swede, Salomon Andrée, and his efforts to reach the North Pole by balloon in 1897.

Read by Rory Kinnear.
Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters.
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.