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After a long hiatus, the “behind the scenes” documentary of large public and private sector organisations has been back in fashion of late.
Over the past couple of years the BBC and others have gone behind the scenes at the London Underground, Claridges, and First Great Western
Now, it is British Airways’ turn to open itself to the cameras.
This is not the first time BA has done so. It was the subject of a four part documentary “Airline”, broadcast on the BBC in 1990.
In the intervening years, the airline has adopted a much more closed approach to the media and has often been subject to an intense media coverage for all the wrong reasons.
This includes a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation “The Trouble With British Airways” and the nadir being the sight of a BA press officer slamming a door on a TV camera crew on the chaotic opening day of Terminal 5 in 2008.
BA can claim with some justification that much has changed since then which is perhaps why it is now willing to participate in “A Very British Airline” a three part documentary, produced by independent television production company Lion Television, for BBC2.
The opening episode on Monday 2 June (repeated Wednesday 4 June) covers the introduction of the Airbus A380 into the airline’s fleet and the training of 18 new cabin crew entrants.
The second episode covers the launch of a new route to Chengdu and BA’s operation at New York JFK.
The third and final episode concludes with the training of new pilots and the day to day handling of the operation.
Any organisation opening itself up to the cameras faces a degree of risk when doing so, not least because of the power of editing. BBC2’s behind the scenes documentary of The Royal Opera House “The House” in the 1990s is a model case study of this. However, BA seems confident that it will come out well in the documentary.
Here is the trailer the BBC is currently running for the documentary: