The Bridge: Fifty Years across the Forth. BBC 1 7pm (watch it on BBC iPlayer).

Who would have thought a documentary about the Forth Road bridge could be so riveting?  This is also the film about a film — that of Jim Henry an amateur cameraman, aged eighteen, that wandered onto the bridge and started filming. He met the resident engineer Jack Hamilton, but the film speaks for itself and is simply a marvel. We see ships pass underneath the spans. Men high-wire walking without safety harness and not a net in the world big enough, walking the spars. It cost £12 million to build. And  stories of the painters starting at one end of the Forth Road bridge finishing and beginning again seem to be true. Maintenance costs to date stand at almost £260 million. Another bridge is being constructed to take the strain of traffic. It takes 24 million vehicles across the Forth every day and it connects the Kingdom of Fife with mainland Scotland (maybe the bridge wasn’t such a good idea). In December 1963 we see the spar that joined the north and the south to make the skeleton of a land bridge fall into place 500 feet above the water.  These were handy men. Men we can be proud of. Scot’s workers and engineers who built things and made things happen. Things like the first 25 mile traffic jam that ushered in the inauguration and opening of the bridge by Queen Elizabeth II in 1964. It took six years to build, a monument to civil engineering and a testament to the working men who built it.

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