Series meeting the people who live and work around Britain's port cities. Sunderland gets a new landmark with the arrival of the centrepiece for the Northern Spire Bridge.
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Around the coast of Britain are cities where lives
are shaped by the sea.
It gets the heart going a bit.
Each city is a gateway to the wider world,
and around each city
thousands of people work in jobs that touch all of our lives.
-Lovely to meet you.
-Whether it's keeping us safe...
OK, deep breathing.
..or keeping us smiling.
Yes, my love. Don't spend your bus fare, will you?
Jobs that keep the nation afloat.
We are on call 24/7, 365 days a year.
From clocking on in the morning...
..to relaxing after work...
The seaside beckons.
..around the shores and rivers of their home towns,
water brings people together.
On the northeast coast of England,
Sunderland is getting a new landmark.
It's been a great experience.
Something not to be missed.
Along the River Wear, maritime links are still strong,
for industry and for people.
Ladies and gentlemen, the ship is open.
And the crowds drop in for the airshow.
It's a seaside jump. They're always special.
Sunderland. A city with a maritime history stretching back
hundreds of years.
But it's a city that's changing.
Old and new working traditions are coming together...
..while the lure of the sea continues to bring pleasure seekers.
And on the horizon, a 21st-century addition to the city's skyline.
It's the moment Sunderland has been waiting for.
For the first time in 40 years, the River Wear is to have a new bridge.
The Northern Spire.
Arriving today from Belgium, the centrepiece.
Twice the height of Nelson's Column.
The challenge -
to navigate the massive structure
two-and-a-half miles up the twists and turns of the river.
A job two years in the planning.
This is quite exciting because not something of this size and magnitude
we haven't taken up river before.
Baber Abidi is going to pilot the pylon to the construction site.
It's got to be done so it will be done.
But he's got to squeeze the precious cargo
under the city's existing bridges.
The tide level in the river has to be just right.
It will be a close shave.
At 4.30am, Baber is ready to go.
All looking good so far.
Just waiting for the moorings.
Once the moorings are sorted out, the tug is in place and then we
are on our merry way.
Position on starboard quarter.
Baber is coordinating two tugs,
pulling the pylon up the river.
With the first bridge approaching, the moment of truth.
If his calculations are wrong...
..the load will hit the bottom of the bridge.
There is only a metre to play with.
But the narrowest bend in the river is still to come.
Dawn. Mission accomplished.
I'm very pleased with how it went.
A very smooth operation.
All the way up to the site.
I think it took about two-and-a-half hours, something like that.
Just under three hours to get there and be stationed on the site.
But to me it looked like half an hour.
And yes, to come out of it pleased with myself.
Yes, I have a part in it.
A big part, because it is the centrepiece.
The port of Sunderland has welcomed seafarers for hundreds of years.
One woman is keeping that tradition alive.
I'm preparing to visit the ship and to bring them along some gifts and
some useful things that they may need in the cold weather.
And then I have a little tape on here and this is called -
I love it - You Raise Me Up.
It is just one thing - You Raise Me Up.
Sister Mary Scholastica opens her mission whenever a ship docks in
the city, caring for sailors far from home.
Somebody put that on the internet, giving the Pope the shirt,
and I got it framed.
And it's amazing, all the people ask me to do a copy for them.
They love hoodies and love it with the hood on
because when they come out
in the cold, if they are the cook or the chef or that, they love that
and with the zip on and they zip it on and they are beautiful.
The most important thing we can give to anybody is our time.
So, I have lived here in Sunderland for 59 years, in this city.
So there are very few people I don't know.
-Very well, thank you.
Sister Mary is stocking up on mobile SIM cards.
-There you go.
-Thank you. All the best.
Thank you, look after yourself.
By far our best customer.
Today she is visiting the crew of the Cellus,
which has been unloading wood pulp.
That's good. Lovely to meet you.
Lovely to see you back again.
Hello. Nice meeting you again.
I'll give them another top up on the card that they can use tonight.
Sister Mary hands over the mobile SIM cards so the crew can have
vital access to home and the internet.
Are you on Facebook and all of that?
You're on Facebook and all of that.
My nephews have me on, and the family,
on WhatsApp and that and all these bits are going
and all these pictures are going and all these things.
She brings a lot of love, a lot of nice reaction.
Everybody's happy so I think it is a good idea.
Have you been on the ship before?
Have I met you before, haven't I?
I have. That's right.
Sister Mary is very generous.
She brings much, you know, much present for, like, toothpaste, everything.
Yeah. Winter clothes.
Cold here in the North East but it would be colder still in Norway and
Sweden, I would imagine.
So I have brought you some nice warm clothing.
-I've brought you T-shirts and I've brought you
some lovely gifts.
-Tesco's shelves would be empty
if we hadn't seafarers to fill them.
We would have no food on the shelves.
You wouldn't have these beautiful trainers and shoes and everything
like that if we had no seafarers.
The Lord will probably retire me when he thinks I should retire,
I will do it while I am able to do it and then I will be able to row
-my boat ashore...
See you next time.
..And thank the Lord for the opportunities,
many opportunities and blessings he has given.
Sunderland was once the world's biggest ship builder
but all the yards have closed.
Today, young people need to find work in other industries.
Like crane building.
Malcolm Smith started in the shipyards in 1974.
Now he is passing on his engineering skills to the apprentices here at
Basically, what we are doing today,
we are laying the pallets out with the fork truck.
We're setting a little bit of an obstacle course up.
For Tony, for his cherry picking course.
The pallets is getting laid out just to give a little bit of
an idea for the lad when he is driving around,
putting a few obstacles just to make things a little bit awkward for him.
Tony Armstrong is 19 and in the second year of his apprenticeship.
Today's test - mastering the art of the cherry picker.
-Now you're fired up.
-All right. Are you happy with that?
-I would like you to lift us off the ground, just enough.
Just a joystick, you know.
All right. Nae bother.
-Before my time.
-Never mind before your time.
Super Mario. You dinna want to bounce out the basket.
I'm a human being, not a monkey.
I canna have anywhere.
Now it's getting tighter for you.
Now it's getting tighter.
Perfect, that, now.
Remember the wood, touch that wood and that's it.
Tony has got safely around the obstacles.
Now it's time to gain some height.
Nice and easy.
Treat it like a woman!
-All right. Treat it like a woman.
-I'll try, Mal.
Nice and gentle.
You can tell your lass that.
When you are 60 foot up in the air, you cannot be too cocky, you know?
-Aye, that's the thing, Mal.
-There's only one way and that's down.
I think we've got an audience.
-Just a bit, like, Mal.
I never thought I'd get a job as David Attenborough!
So, has Tony done enough to pass?
I must say congratulations,
for you have passed that course for the cherry picker.
-So, well done.
-You're ticking the wrong boxes, like.
-Oh, well, I'll turn that over.
You don't have to say that!
I could have adjusted that later on!
The camera wasn't even on that!
Flipping hell. All right, then.
Fail, fail, fail...
On the seafront, a very different challenge...
..for runners from across the North East.
A camera just appeared in front of my face.
I'm just phoning Mum for inspiration.
It's the biggest event on the calendar
for the Sunderland Strollers -
the Pier To Pier race.
Five minutes to start, please.
First and second. All right?
Three, two, one, go!
It's a seven-mile route from South Shields to Sunderland.
Phil Tweddell created the run 20 years ago.
Now he's president of the Strollers.
See you at the finish.
Today he's taking the easy route.
On a training run I would have taken the clifftop, the edge path,
but if I was actually in the run I would have taken the shorter route
through the thick grass.
Lead runners are coming along the beach now.
Should be at the finishing line in a matter of seconds.
-Come on, Wendy.
Come on. Come on, Wendy.
You've done awesome, chick. Well done. Well done.
-As president of the club I congratulate you on an excellent run.
This is the first win for me, and especially for the Strollers.
-The Strollers' vest.
-It's got to be the Strollers' vest
for the Strollers' run.
-That was fun.
-It's something the city should be proud of.
Just down the beach,
a business that has been part of the seafront for decades.
There we go.
Nice and quiet. Nice and silent.
Grant Selden runs the family arcade with his sister, and with half term,
he's hoping to be busy.
Get ready, get prepared for all the families and children coming in
today and, you know, hopefully make some more money.
This is a big investment for us.
It was all the money what we had and didn't have.
Put all your eggs in one basket and luckily it paid off.
-Yes, my love.
-The spinning machines.
Has it ran out of tickets?
Has it ran out of tickets?
-Has it what?
-What are you asking me?
No, the toy thing is stuck.
The toy is stuck? There he is, man.
I've been here since I was four years old.
50, well, more than 50 years ago.
Yes, love. Hello.
Are you all right?
-Lindsay and Grant learned the ropes from their parents,
who never took a holiday.
Always had to be open. It never had to be closed.
We always had to be open.
And he died on Christmas Day.
And that day we were closed anyway.
And it was like, you know, "We haven't even had a day off!"
We didn't even get a day off.
He knew! He knew!
Don't spend your bus fare, will you?
Just waiting for stock coming in this afternoon.
I ordered it yesterday.
I mean, the cranes are like random
so you could win a couple of toys very early on
and then not win none for a little while.
They run an average time.
But we do, we have them generous.
We have the cranes generous.
You like to give value for money to customers.
The arcade is reliant on day trippers
coming to enjoy the seaside.
People love it. Get the buckets and spades, go out to the beach,
come back when the tide comes in.
They just love it, you know.
I don't like the sea. I don't go in the water and I don't go on a boat
and I don't... No.
I don't, no. I'd love to go on a cruise but
you'd have to go on the sea, wouldn't you?
Oh, terrible, terrible.
For over 100 years,
Roker Lighthouse has guided ships home through the North Sea storms.
This hidden passage helped men keep the lamp burning
whatever the weather.
When the weather was fairly stormy,
he would use this tunnel to get to the lighthouse.
Phil from the Sunderland Strollers running club
is retracing steps he took as a child.
At the end of this tunnel under the pier, his grandfather,
William Emerson, the lighthouse keeper, was waiting.
He knew we were on our way so he would be waiting for us at
the basement there and he would bang the door...
..and so the sound would reverberate backwards and forwards through
the tunnel, which was quite nerve-racking.
It was terrifying. He also made ghostly noises as we got towards
the end there.
The lighthouse is going to open to the public after a £1 million
makeover. Phil will act as a guide.
Matt Storey, who is overseeing the restoration,
spots a chance to jog some memories.
Can you remember what sort of condition it was in?
Well, last time I was in it, it was like this,
it was in very good condition.
The tiles were perfect.
The handrail could do with a polish.
-Isn't that what you used to do?
-That was one of my jobs.
That was one of the family jobs - when my sister,
my cousins came down to the lighthouse,
which was on a regular basis,
we were not allowed to walk up the stairs
without polishing the handrail.
The lighthouse is still working today.
Here we are, Matt. We are in the light room.
You can see the panoramic view from the windows here.
And as a youngster you used to have to come here with my grandfather
and clean the windows.
We couldn't reach very far so it was difficult cleaning those windows,
and quite terrifying.
-I bet it was. I wouldn't like to do it.
-I wouldn't like to do it now.
Yeah, that's fine. Go to your guest, which is Stephen...McCaffrey.
Is that cable all right like that, Josh?
Yeah, that's great.
It is a big day for the Northern Spire.
You can see the steel icon is slowly, gradually
starting to take shape.
Just to give you an idea of what's happening,
there is some steel jacks on this side of the river
which are very gently,
very gently inching this cable here
and that's ever so slowly lifting the bridge into an upright position.
It will take 48 hours to stand the massive pylon upright.
See if you can loosen some of the propulsion,
if you can put it on freewheel and then just drag it away.
There is an international team working on this new road bridge.
Ben Dunn is in charge of the lift.
If the preparation is done correctly,
then obviously you minimise the chance of problems
but it is always possible that something is
But so far, so good.
And despite the bitterly cold weather,
some people have braved the elements.
It has been well worth every minute.
It has been a great,
great experience and one that I will only see once in my lifetime.
Something not to be missed.
I thought I'd bring both the kids along and show them.
Kind of...it's a big engineering feat and I think
it's worth coming to see.
Ryan Dillon has made Sunderland his home while he works on the Spire.
He's monitoring the stress levels on the winching cables.
It's going fairly well.
Everything is behaving as expected at this stage.
To finally get this linked after a hard year's work,
it's nice to be here.
Not every day you see 1,500 tonnes being winched up. Yes.
With every minute, the new bridge is taking shape.
Day two, and everything is going to plan.
14 months ago there was nothing on this river.
Each piece of the jigsaw come together to make it successful.
It's a massive milestone today to get this up.
The pylon is finally standing proud.
Sunderland's skyline has changed forever.
What about the boat?
-About 11 o'clock.
-Are you going to drop the mast or what?
-I tell you what I was thinking about,
was shall we put the kettle on?
the lads from Sunderland's Maritime Heritage Group are preparing to
commemorate the achievements of a local hero
with their hand-built warship, HMS Venerable.
-He's a good one.
-Stand beside it. Let's have a look.
Take your cap off.
Stand beside it.
Chairman Tommy Rowe runs a tight ship.
No messing about.
Come on, then. Don't leave us all to meself. Come on.
Where you been? You been hiding.
Whoa! Go on.
They are re-enacting a naval battle with the model of HMS Venerable
-as the centrepiece.
Put this together.
I tell you what, these guys are just like clockwork -
you've got to wind them up now and again.
-I'm going to be gentle...
-That's the wrong bloody way.
-What have you done?
That's sideways, that.
Whatever you do, don't look.
Me eyes are forwards.
Right, how do I look?
Welcome aboard the 74-gun ship HMS Venerable.
-Everything correct, sir.
-Thank you, Mr Fairfax.
In the Battle of Camperdown in the 18th century,
the Royal Navy clashed with the Dutch.
Sunderland lad Jack Crawford
heroically saved the Navy from humiliation.
Without a thought for himself, Jack Crawford,
through a hail of shot and a broken jaw,
climbed and nailed the colours back to the mast!
Crawford is remembered in the park,
a stone's throw from where Tommy is performing.
So there he is. Look at him.
Still braving the elements.
Well done, Jack.
See that? The hero of Camperdown.
He's made the symbol of Camperdown.
What a guy.
If he hadn't have done that I wouldn't be standing here like this.
I'd be standing here with clogs on,
eating a lump of Edam cheese and talking Dutch.
That's what would've happened.
And you can take that as gospel.
-And Jack cried out, "Avast!"
and the colours of old England he nailed up to the mast!
It's went really well.
We've had the biggest crowd, fantastic.
They've gotten rid of their money and we've never gotten one boo!
Those links with the Royal Navy continue, 200 years on.
Looks like the ship is about three or four miles out.
Boarding the ship will be from the starboard side,
that's what they were telling the launch.
Baber is here to navigate HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's flagship,
into the port.
But first he's got to get on board.
Number one gun.
Number two gun.
HMS Ocean is Sunderland's adopted ship.
But this visit is especially poignant.
It's the last time Sunderland will catch a glimpse of her,
as the ship will soon be decommissioned.
HMS Ocean is in port for just five days, with a hectic schedule.
Today, the doors are being thrown open to the public.
It's its last visit.
You have to come and have a look, support it.
It's good. It's nice to see the ship here.
because we've only seen him far away at sea and close-up it should be
great, shouldn't it?
Because we know HMS Ocean is going to be decommissioned soon and never
been on a helicopter carrier, so will definitely come for that.
Second-in-command of the HMS Ocean is Commander Nick Wood.
-Already to go?
Should be busy all day.
You all right, young man?
-He's hoping for more than 8,000 visitors today.
Ladies and gentlemen, the ship is open. Please come in.
Welcome. Have a good time.
And he's looking out for one particular visitor.
Did you see this come in?
I mean, it must be incredible to manoeuvre in here.
My son is a commander.
So you can say what you like!
Hello, Father. How you doing?
I'm fine, thank you, and you?
Welcome. Welcome to work.
Tell me what you do, show me what you do.
Nick's dad, Bob Wood, was brought up in Sunderland.
Where's the door?
And with friends, is getting a personal tour
from the second-in-command.
You're in the town centre, the back end of it.
Yeah, she's a bit of a beauty, isn't she?
In the bowels of Ocean, a lesson in how to navigate around the ship.
It's laid out in the same way as every other Royal Naval ship
is laid out. Two, three, four, five.
And then from there you go 01, 02, 03.
So we're on two-deck at the moment.
Nice to meet you. I'm the captain. A very warm welcome to HMS Ocean.
That's quite a queue.
Hi, Sister, how are you?
-Very well, thank you.
-And Bob isn't the only VIP guest coming on board
-I'm just going to take you up now.
I'll introduce you to the captain.
Sister Mary, a very warm welcome to HMS Ocean.
A pleasure to come on board, thank you.
It's a real pleasure to welcome you to Ocean today.
And also, thank you for all the fantastic work that you do for your
And on the bridge, a chance to sit in the hot seat.
Fantastic. I've just seen views I've never seen before and will probably
never see again. Panorama vista is brilliant.
And I've got to say that I'm so proud of my boy, because,
to be honest with you, I didn't think he'd make it.
I thought, first 12 weeks at Raleigh, kaput!
You know. But he came back and he got stuck in and it was brilliant.
-He's done so well.
-31 years later I'm still trying.
31 years later.
He still won't pay for a round of beer, but I still like him!
Down at Sunderland yacht club, there's a battle looming.
Ready to go, lads, when you are.
John Robertson is the man to beat.
-Go for it.
-Now he's back home in Sunderland,
everyone wants to challenge the Paralympian sailor.
Feel the tension rising now, already.
Especially Gordon Spencer.
This is my last chance to try and win some races.
You can't doubt his experience or knowledge.
You just can't doubt it.
Gordon is quite quick, actually.
-Hear that, Gordon?
-What's that, sorry?
With the hot air out of the way, time to put wind in the sails.
That's it. Pull, pull, pull, mate.
Pleas, please, please. Ready?
Pull back, pull back. Pull, pull, pull, pull.
Pull back. Bit of breeze.
-Set. All right, there, Luke?
-Yeah, we're good.
We're racing now, yeah.
The race is a mile out to sea to the first buoy.
John is ahead of us but it's early days yet.
It's not over till the fat lady sings.
Pull back, pull back.
I want to beat everybody.
But Gordon, especially, because he's in the same sort of boat.
At the halfway point, it's neck and neck.
Caught a bit of ground again, and we're catching John again.
Is he catching us up, then?
We like to say, we're a boat length away.
Depends how big your boat is.
In one race we actually beat him.
Bit of ease, now, lads. Bit of ease.
John is going to get there before us.
Yay! Nice one, lads.
-Well done, John.
John's reputation survives.
On the river, Ryan's view is changing day by day.
Today we're installing one of the last cable sleeves.
They basically protect the housing for the main cable strands
to support the bridge.
In the past couple of weeks, the whole appearance of the site
It's got a lot of attention locally because it's so visual and so quick.
In total, I think there's 120 miles of cable going in,
which would take you from here to Liverpool.
And in charge of putting in all the cable which will support the bridge
is 27-year-old Frenchman Julien Eckendorfer.
HE GIVES AN INSTRUCTION IN SPANISH
Despite what you are seeing, the bottom part of this pipe is
going to go over there, over the edge of the bridge.
Keep going up slowly.
Keep going back slowly, keep going back slowly.
Julien's team are specialists who have been brought in from
all over Europe to stress the cables.
Five minutes more and it's in position.
I think all of our activities, the whole process,
is...can be a little bit dangerous.
Nothing should happen, nothing wrong should happen.
-No, no, no figures crossed.
Touch the wood. In France, you touch wood.
Fingers crossed is actually bad luck in France.
It means I'm lying.
And I am not.
Every day, every minute,
we are drawing more closer to the target.
Come to work for VSL, the best gym in the UK.
I tried to pick up some girls with stay cable technology
but apart if she is not civil engineer
it's not working so well for me!
When you go around in Sunderland and people are asking you,
"What are you doing, you are a foreigner but what are you doing here?"
"Oh, I'm building the bridge.
"I'm doing the stay cables,"
it's very visual for the people and it's also impressive.
From its journey across the North Sea to the hundreds of people who've
worked in the bridge, the Northern Spire now stands proud.
I started in here, in 1974.
Well, you'll be finished soon, won't you?
It's about time that you actually got a job done.
At Liebherr Cranes, Malcolm is in the cathedral.
Once, this huge shed housed ship building on a grand scale.
Malcolm is reliving old times with his friend Mark Nicholls,
who worked at a rival yard on Tyneside.
The biggest shipbuilding town in the world was Sunderland.
-Yes, but you didn't build them correctly!
The ships may have disappeared but the banter lives on,
and Mark has an ace up his sleeve.
Malcolm has a habit of getting his words back to front or his sentences
upside down, and we actually came up with the book of Malcolmisms,
because there was a person called Mrs Malaprop
who used to do the same.
And Malcolm says to us one day, he says, "Mark,
"what you call them people that read your mind?"
He says, "You know, away man, ventriloquists, that's them."
Your job was hard. It was a long day.
The pay wasn't brilliant.
-But it was the craic with your mates,
and it was the craic with your mates and you made lifelong mates,
that's the thing.
I says, "Malcolm, there's a mass meeting on.
So Malcolm says, "Well, it's not for everybody."
One of the other ones was, "There's no way you're as thick as me."
Which I did say, "I hopefully am not."
No, I don't miss the shipyards but I miss the people.
What I do miss is the ships.
I love the ships.
I like the stuff we're building now but when we used to see a ship on a
-It's like anything else, you have to adapt.
They closed all the shipyards, they closed all the pits.
So it was up to the men to adapt.
And they did, in all fairness, full credit to them.
I don't want to give too many of these away but my book is actually
quite full of them. There's another one.
"I want a minimum of one."
It sometimes breaks a bad day when you have something like this.
It's a lovely day along here.
Matt Storey and Phil Tweddell are back at the lighthouse.
They're showing round friends who will be conducting tours of
99% finished, we've just got a few things to do.
This will be where we talk about
the operation of the lighthouse, the history of the building.
Damage to the pier has delayed the opening but the restoration of the
lighthouse where Phil's grandfather worked is complete.
Are you pleased with the way the restoration has gone?
The restoration work is absolutely fantastic.
I think my grandfather would be really pleased.
It's brought it back to the way it used to look.
He'd be over the moon.
I mean, I give the workmen their due.
They've done a really wonderful job in restoring the lighthouse.
Certainly this room, it's absolutely brilliant.
And here you are all these years later.
-Cleaning the handrail, cleaning the windows.
-Cleaning the handrails!
Back to childhood.
The group will start their tours of the lighthouse in the spring.
I've always wanted to get in the tunnel and pier,
so what better way of doing it than to be a tour guide?
Opening this lovely lighthouse, is quite exciting, really.
Once we get going,
getting people to the tunnels and up into the lighthouse, it'll be great.
What we're hopefully going to provide us a bit of excitement,
a bit of dark and water as you get under the pier
and obviously a fantastic view.
There is only one place to see the view and that's from the top
of the lighthouse.
In just a few hours, Sunderland Airshow,
the biggest event of the year, will get under way.
Half a million visitors are heading into the city.
Guns! See you later.
On the ground, Laura Young from Sunderland City Council
is coordinating live music acts and visitor attractions.
You all right?
Any chance you could string it out for eight minutes more?
So if you could take that to 20, 25, that would be absolutely brilliant.
Because we can tell the camera to keep on getting shots of it to go on
-the big screen.
-Brilliant, thanks, guys.
..into that corner, please.
45 grand a year, I'll move bins!
-Brilliant, right, that's time to go now.
See? I love it when a plan comes together.
All good. All happy faces still.
You're looking forward to the end of the airshow,
cos it's quite a busy time.
A lot of stress and a lot of aggravation
but we take lots of money.
I've never actually
watched it in all these years.
If I could get a year off, that would be great.
On the seafront,
Lindsay and Grant at the arcade are hoping to cash in on
the airshow crowds by bringing in new attractions.
This is the earliest we could get this.
Which is an old game but old is new.
The old is new again.
So it's lovely. It is lovely, isn't it?
-Is it going to be a money-spinner?
Well, if it's not, it'll be going back.
This is one we've had this season, and this is The Walking Dead.
Which is awful, but they like that.
It could be the most profitable weekend of the year
for Lindsay and Grant
but how much money they take is dictated by one thing.
If it rains on a bank holiday, then you're grumpy,
which you don't want it to be. And it often does.
The rain means the flying display could be postponed
or even cancelled.
A tough call for flight director Ian Sheeley.
The challenge today is the weather.
We can't actually get aircraft to the display site
or safely back to land
at the moment, but they'll be there under their umbrellas just hoping to
see something fly and if there is an opportunity, we will certainly get
something in the sky.
Considering we all come from the south,
predominantly from the south-east,
we love coming up to Sunderland.
We get very well looked after whilst we're up here.
It's one of our favourite shows of the year, to be fairly honest.
We all look forward to it.
With the cloud level still low,
Frank Millerick and the Tigers Parachute Display Team
have had to sit it out.
What we're doing right now is prepping the smoke.
We are hopefully going to get a high jump today so we are planning on
doing a diamond formation which is four canopies in a diamond shape,
one at the top, one at the bottom, two in the middle
with a flag and blue smoke.
On the seafront, Laura is feeling more hopeful.
We are just waiting to find out if they've got enough base, the base cloud's all right for
them to drop. So what we've had to do, because the tide's coming in,
we've had to extend the drop zone.
So I'm just checking our stewards and our site crew have managed
to get the crowd off the beach and put it in place.
It looks as though they have, though, so, positive.
Makes you look fat.
He's been on the team for 25 years.
I think it's his last year this year.
He's going to get retired.
Considering the amount of jumps he's got, he's not very good at it
because he just flies around kicking you in the face and stuff.
After a long wait,
the Tigers are ready and broadcasting live on social media.
Going live, guys.
Now walking to the aircraft, so keep in touch.
Any questions, feel free to ask.
At Newcastle Airport, the VIP guests have arrived.
And for Red Arrows engineer Mike Fleming,
this event is close to home.
The Sunderland Airshow is only about five miles from where I live
so ever since I was younger I have always travelled up to the Airshow
on my bike or walked up. Just to watch it.
Weather here, it's now 350, it's a northerly, scattered at 16.
There's no view at the moment.
David Montenegro, Red One, the leader, briefs the team.
And even the Red Arrows can't plan the weather.
We can do three types of show depending on the weather and right
now I've no idea which show we're going to do.
It could be a beautiful blue sky, or it could be low-level cloud
so we're going to prepare for all three and
then we'll go and deliver it in the airshow.
Check in 05.
BRASS BAND PLAYS
Back in Sunderland, prayers have been answered.
The umbrellas are down and the skies have cleared.
And is the change in the weather a big win at the arcade?
Yes, it's been OK. It's been not too bad.
Space Invaders has been really good for us since it's come in,
and hopefully it will continue.
I mean, the weather hasn't been great this year.
You know, the figures are down slightly, quite a bit.
But overall, it's been quite good, still.
We've had quite good crowds in.
I don't whether they're coming for cover or spending money,
a bit of both, I think.
-Hi, guys. How you doing? Are you all right?
Yeah, good, thank you. Have you got yourself tickets?
You can win the car.
-There's a raffle.
-I couldn't get in it!
Kirsty is an ex-Red Arrows pilot.
Today, she's flying with the Blades,
a display that needs a strong stomach
and isn't for the faint-hearted.
From a pilot's point of view, flying our airshow is pretty exhilarating.
We do 32 manoeuvres in 15 minutes, so it's pretty nonstop.
Then we split up and then do all the aerodynamic manoeuvres like
the spins and snaps and things.
You can't do that in a jet aircraft because of the way the
engine is built. We've got a propeller on the front and we're
very light, very manoeuvrable, so we can do
all the really exciting manoeuvres.
And at the end of it you think, "Oh, my God, what just happened?"
But I love it.
Mike Ling, the Red Arrows' man on the ground,
is ready to guide the boys in.
Ian here will give the green light to display once he is content that
everything is safe and sound to go.
-Mike will be having a new Red 10 at the end of the season.
This is my last Sunderland Airshow.
I've been coming here for many, many years now.
I've displayed here as one of the Red Arrows pilots and I've been here
every year as Red 10 in my tenure for the last six years.
It's very sad to be hanging up the red suit at the end of the season,
and very sad to be leaving this part of the North East,
having been here so many times.
And the Tigers have also been given the green light.
The view's fantastic. It might be a little bit overcast but, you know,
it's a seaside jump and they're always special.
About 1,000 feet down, you start to hear people as well.
People cheering, and that's really cool.
Sunderland, please put your hands together for the Royal Air Force
aerobatic team, the Red Arrows!
Cruising at 800mph, the pilots are working hard,
everything in their bodies is six times heavier.
Their blood wants to go from the brains and vital organs
to their feet.
I think it's fabulous for the North East.
Fabulous for Sunderland city.
I think it's something that they should be proud of.
When they're coming in here like this now,
you just, it's awe-inspiring.
I reckon I could do it, though!
This one is for you.
For the people of the North East.
The city of Sunderland is changing. Shipbuilding and coal exports which brought its original wealth have disappeared - and now the city is looking to a new future. This programme meets some of the people helping to bring about change and others working to keep traditions alive.