TV Review: Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies

If you believe everything you read, society is now apparently so addicted to nothing but: reality TV, cookery programmes and soap operas that the rest of the television industry is on its knees. That our programming schedules will never again be filled with anything even remotely interesting, thought provoking or dare I say it, educational.

The problem is though, that my opening statement is in fact, complete rubbish. There are quality TV programmes being made. Last year Professor Brian Cox brought the science of Doctor Who to life, Jacques Peretti is currently showing us how “Men” manipulate us to spend and buy having already made us fat and a team of scientists opened my eyes to the amazing hidden wildlife of Burma that lives in a part of the world I truly wish to visit. These programmes all suffer from the same issues, they don’t get advertised. And once again, another stunningly interesting piece of television fell into this trap and very nearly passed me by. If it wasn’t for a retweet from Lindstrand Media about the programme, I wouldn’t have heard of it and would never have seen it.

Operation Cloud Lab - Storm

Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Sky is an amazing two part documentary looking at clouds and the weather, life and effects associated with them. And they used an airship to do it. The science behind it may at times have felt like it was a little dumbed-down, you have to slightly accept that because the programme is trying to appeal to as wide as possible audience as it can and that doesn’t happen by bamboozling people with degree level explanations. But it didn’t matter. It was still fascinating and it was engrossing enough that while basic it was thought provoking. In fact it almost works to its advantage as it allows you to pick and chose without become bored and distracted. I never found myself wanting to turn off or withdraw from the bits I’m not overly interested in, but rather go and seek out more in depth answer, to expand my knowledge on the parts I am fascinated by.

The programme is split over two parts, both of which are available at the moment on the BBC iPlayer (25th July) for UK viewers and honestly, if you’re sat at home with nothing to do don’t catch up with EastEnders, Dot Cotton will just light up a cigarette and there will be an argument in pub. Stick on this and learn something. Find out the weight of a cloud or why bacteria cause rain. Even learn why you would perform a HaHo parachute jump in the name of science and meet the strangest but cutest life-form I’ve ever seen.

Operation Cloud Lab - Andy Torbet

Honestly, I you’ll want to reach out and stroke it’s belly!

I will admit, that coming from an aviation background, and especially one as weather dependent as hot air ballooning, I have always have a love of meteorology and was always going to be drawn to this. In fact, during the meteorology exams for my commercial pilot’s licence, I fell in love with the subject so much that I actually considered studying it for a career and I will accept that I maybe seeing it through rose tinted glasses as a result. Even if I am letting my opinions be swayed, I found this programme, the discoveries and some of the results they achieved, along with the knock on effects they mean, absolutely compelling. It has left me questioning some of the very fundamental principles I thought I knew and by accident, has showed once again that Dr. Ian Malcolm was correct in Jurassic Park when he said that nature would a find a way! Our actions, whether undertaken even with purely positive intentions, will always have further reaching consequences that we cannot predict or realistically expect to happen.

Operation Cloudl Lb - End

Operation Cloud Lab: The Secret Of Our Skies deserved to get more advertising, it deserved a wider audience than it got because it’s television programmes like this that grab the younger generations and makes them question. Makes them want to learn. It lights the spark inside that results in people becoming engineers, scientists and academics, and going on to make this country great. But instead, we’re left with a majority who now dream of standing on a stab crying about their dead dog while singing Adele out of tune rather in the name of 15 minutes of fame rather than looking at a cloud and simply thinking “you know what I’ll fly an airship into that!”

And that makes me sad.

Posted on by 5WC in Television, Weather First Edition

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