Made In Britain Review: Still Got It?

MADE IN BRITAIN: Monday 20th June, BBC2, 9pm

Is the UK’s economy fated to fall into insignificance? Are we Brits destined eek out an existence on hand-outs from the European Union? Will China’s burgeoning economy soon suffocate any hope we have for the future? No. Not according to this overtly optimistic documentary fronted by Dragons’ Den’s Evan Davis.

Davis knows a thing or two about industry; he currently presents Radio 4’s Today programme and previously worked as the BBC’s economics editor from 2001-2008, so he’s well poised to present this three-part series on Britain’s financial future. This opening episode focuses on manufacture and the transitions it has undergone in the past century. From Victorian mills to state-of-the-art sci-fi looking facilities making futuristic pilotless planes. According to Davis the way to excel economically is to “invest the resources you have in the highest value activity you can, while constantly adapting.â€?

While we used to manufacture low-value items at high volumes, we’re now manufacturing high-value items at low volumes. This is how economies evolve, he explains. Evans downplays China’s mass-scale manufacturing saying, “It’s not a sign of China’s strength, more of its limitations.â€? And claiming the reason they have taken-up the high-volume manufacturing with such zeal is because “they’re not that good at anything else.â€? He alleges that we, on the other hand, have expertise other countries apparently cannot possess and assures us manufacturing advancements come through thought, not manual work.

It’s an interesting programme; he tours some fantastic facilities and interviews many industry leaders. The only problem – and it’s a glaring one – is his complete lack of acknowledgement that our imports outweigh our exports by a staggering £30 billion until the final few minutes of the show, thus rendering all his affable optimism relatively redundant. However, this is a three-part series, so it’s fair to assume latter instalments will address this egregious oversight.