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Of Sons and Skies

Robert Arley

I have mostly worked in the television industry as a writer, producer and director.

I was the Producer of ‘Children’s ITV’; and later a factual programme director for BBC television, most prominently on 'The Antiques Roadshow' for several years.

Previously I had been a Media Studies lecturer and course director at the City of Birmingham Polytechnic.

I created a 13-part ITV children’s comedy-drama series ‘Minty’, which was screened all over the world.  Then I was a team script-writer for BBC1’s ‘Call my Bluff’.

I ghosted Paul Martin’s ‘Britain‘ history/tourism title for Sutton Publishing (based on BBC2 ‘Flog It’ features, after working on that show for several years).

I devised  and wrote the well-received ‘Motorway Sights Guides’ travel books, 2002-06 (Daily Telegraph: “riveting”; Sunday Times; “Hypnotically compelling”; Mail on Sunday: “Enthralling”) for Severnpix Publishing.

I have scripted and directed films for the broadcasters on RAF air shows, the De Havilland Mosquito, military veteran rehabilitation and British cold war planning.

I recently produced a film profiling military veterans of WW2 for the MoD Armed Forces Community Covenant. You will find some clips from "We did our bit" in the 'Extras to the book' section. I was shocked by what ex-Bomber Command engineer Ted Miles told me about his responsibilities on a Lincolnshire air station. I had no idea so many men and craft failed to return. How could I have gone through life not knowing these staggering statistics? I began to explore this and decided not enough people know about the difficulties of flying in those times. 

Most aviation books are aimed at already committed aviation enthusiasts, not least Spitfire fetishists, so I have tried to draft a manuscript for lay people – men, women and children – to introduce them to the extraordinary demands and impact of aerial endeavours through those harrowing years.

I aim to reach as many people as possible who know little or nothing about these huge challenges and tragedies that ultimately brought peace and prosperity to most of Europe.

I am always pleased to talk about the book and the subject to interested groups. 

Talk testimonials:

‘A very informative and interesting talk, very well received.’

Penarth Aviation Society


‘Packed with fascinating and often little known facts - brings those long years vividly to life to make us acknowledge how fortunate we have been to live in the following peace time.’

 Rosemary Harward, Alfrick, Worcestershire


‘An excellent talk - made the evening come alive.’

 John Sermon, Chair, North Cotswold Royal Air Force Association


'Robert Arley knows how to tell a story.  Enticing us with thrilling tales behind the simplified sound bites and headlines which get repeated each decade of remembrance, he swept us from points of interest across Europe to the mysterious battles over the Pacific - breath-taking revelations of difficulties and dangers for crews in the air and on the ground. 

Retired defence personnel as well as civilians, young and old, were educated and enthralled. That my dad survived to never speak of these things is clearly more of a miracle than any of us knew.'

Sue Friston, Malvern.

To arrange a talk get in touch with your details, venue and proposed dates via our Contact page.