There are hopes a new TV mini-series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks will boost Norfolk and Suffolk’s tourism industry, with industry experts predicting it will bring in more visitors from North America. 

Eastern Daily Press: Stephen Speilberg is producing the series alongside Tom HanksStephen Speilberg is producing the series alongside Tom Hanks (Image: PA)

The new series, Masters of the Air, was due to be released this year but was postponed until 2024 because of Covid.

It follows the story of the Second World War "bomber boys" of the American Eighth Air Force, who were based in Norfolk between 1942-1945.

It's the third chapter in Hanks' and Spielberg’s Second World War trilogy, which also includes Pacific and Band of Brothers. 

Eastern Daily Press: Masters of the Air is the third in the trio of series, which includes Band of BrothersMasters of the Air is the third in the trio of series, which includes Band of Brothers (Image: PA)

And those working in East Anglia’s tourism industry hope it will bring similar benefits as its predecessors brought to their featured locations.

Peter Waters, executive director of Visit East of England, said: “There’s going to be a major opportunity for us to encourage more North American visitors after the streaming of the $275m series from January. 

“Normandy tourism reported a 40pc uplift in North Americans after Band of Brothers aired, and with marketing and travel trade support, we should look to do something similar.”

Who are the American Eighth Air Force?

During the Second World War between 1942 and 1945, it is estimated that there were around 50,000 personnel serving on 18 airbases, occupied by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), within Norfolk - the “friendly invasion”.

The U.S. Eighth Air Force occupied bases throughout the county, including Attlebridge, Bodney, Deopham Green, East Wretham, Hardwick, Hethel, Horsham St Faith, North Pickenham, Old Buckenham, Rackheath, Seething, Shipdham, Snetterton Heath, Thorpe Abbotts, Tibenham, Watton and Wendling.

The Mighty Eighth suffered more killed in action during the Second World War than the Marine Corps and risked flying at 25,000ft - in daylight - to take the fight to Hitler’s doorstep.

It is reported that they unleashed 697,000 tonnes of bombs.