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The Untold Battle of Britain

Sat Sep 14, 7.55-9pm, More4

Some of the most wrong-headed populist notions – the one about immigration being a terrible thing, for instance – are often the hardest to shoot down. But this is an ingenious medium for targeting knee-jerk xenophobia well inside the nationalists’ home territory: the jingoistic Boche-bashing World War II docu-drama (first shown in 2010).

It helps that this particular story – about the RAF’s gung-ho 303 Polish Squadron, who flew daredevil sorties against the Luftwaffe out of RAF Northolt – is incredibly well told. The dramatic side has it all: sceptical British commanders, sex with Wrens, an untameable Nazi-hating maverick and spectacularly tally-ho dogfight action.

The intercut testimony from surviving Polish airmen is just as enthralling, as they explain how the 303’s kill rate got to be twice that of the leading English squadron and why the Polish aces’ alarming Hurricane handling may well have tipped the balance in the Battle of Britain. And how did Blighty reward its Polish heroes? Well, have a guess…