Dstl - one of south Wiltshire's greatest mysteries unveiled

Dstl - one of south Wiltshire's greatest mysteries unveiled

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 6:47am 28th June 2016. (Updated at 12:12pm 18th July 2016)

3 minute read

TV crews give you an inside view of what really goes on at the secretive Porton Down site as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

It's one of South Wiltshire's greatest mysteries... what really goes on at Porton Down?

You can find out much more about the secretive Dstl site this evening (Tuesday 28th June), in a special TV documentary.

It's a behind the scenes look at the military and scientific research that's been done at the site - as it marks its 100th anniversary.

Chief Exec Dr. Jonathan Lyle says we can't see everything though:

"We had the cameras in for many, many weeks and we sought to show them as much as we were able to in terms of the work we do for the nation. But we are a top secret lab, and so a lot of what we do has to remain under wraps because obviously we wouldn't want our adversaries to know exactly what we were doing."

We can see things like how they test biological and chemical weapons, protect people from serious illnesses like ebola and make sure the technology given to our soldiers is up to the job.

Dstl - Porton Down - Old chemical munitions - bombs (Crown Copyright)

Some of the old chemical munitions at Dstl Porton Down

TV cameras go 'behind the scenes':

Jonathon Lyle describes what you can expect from the show:

"What they filmed with us was seeing a number of our scientists and engineers going about their work. So for example, people who deployed to Sierra Leone to help tackle the ebola virus there, other people who have been helping with the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), working to help rid the world of chemical weapons, for example with the Assad regime in Syria."


The science labs at Porton Down have a controversial past - including testing on humans and animals.

This new behind-the-scenes documentary gives us a chance to find out so much more about the site - it's the most access that's ever been given to a film crew.

Dstl Porton Down - generic scientist lab  3 (Crown Copyright)

Animal testing - Porton Down labs have controversial past

CEO Dr. Jonathan Lyle added by saying they won't be shying away from their history:

"I would expect the programme will look into some of the darker chapters of the history of Porton Down, and some of the things that happened in the 1950's. I can only speak for the lab that I run today, and that lab that I run today operates to the very highest scientific and ethical standards."


  • The documentary 'Inside Porton Down' will be shown on BBC Four tonight (Tues 28th June) at 9.00pm.
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