Great British Railway Journeys Series5

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Travel Documentary hosted by Michael Portillo, published by BBC in 2014 - English narration

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Image: Great-British-Railway-Journeys-Series5-Cover.jpg

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Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. He travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways changed us, and what of Bradshaw's Britain remains.

[edit] Manchester to Birkenhead

Michael Portillo embarks on a journey from Manchester, birthplace of George Bradshaw, the publisher of his trusted guide, to Chesterfield, burial place of George Stephenson, the father of the railway. In the first leg of the journey, Michael finds out how the world's first industrialised city also gave birth to a revolutionary political movement and hears how railway workers founded one of the most successful football clubs in the world. Along the way, Michael does the washing in Port Sunlight and discovers the legacy of an American named George Francis Train in Birkenhead.

[edit] Southport to Leyland

Michael Portillo continues his journey through the north west of England. He begins in the elegant Lancashire resort of Southport, where the railways brought thousands of visitors to enjoy the pier and all the fun of the fair. Michael discovers Victorian entrepreneurship in Wigan, traces the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in Bolton and drives a hundred-year-old commercial vehicle in Leyland.

[edit] Preston to Rochdale

Michael Portillo continues his journey through the north west of England. He celebrates Victorian trade with the Preston Guild then heads to Rochdale where he discovers a pioneering movement that helped improve the lot of working families. Michael follows in the tracks of swathes of nineteenth-century working people who made day trips from the industrial towns to Hebden Bridge to walk in the beautiful Calder Valley.

[edit] Haworth to Huddersfield

Michael Portillo begins this leg of his journey from Manchester to Chesterfield at the home of the three Bronte sisters in Worth Valley, Yorkshire. He then moves on to Oakworth where he learns how the station and its heritage railway line secured a starring role in one of the most popular films ever made. In Bradford, Michael finds out how nineteenth-century workers could save to buy a home of their own, and in Halifax discovers how the railway contributed to the town's sweet success.

[edit] Honley to Chesterfield

On the last leg of his journey from a notorious slum in Manchester to the grandeur of a ducal seat in Derbyshire, Michael Portillo tunes in to the music of the mills and collieries of Victorian England, testing his puff with the brass band at Honley. In Holmfirth, Michael finds out about a 19-century tragedy that struck the town and led to a tourist boom on the railways. At Chesterfield, Michael pays homage to the father of the railway, George Stephenson, before finishing his journey in style at one of the first stately homes to welcome visitors by rail - Chatsworth.

[edit] London Euston to Cheddington

Michael Portillo embarks on a journey from London's Euston station to Leeds. In this first leg, he finds out what happened to the once proud Euston Arch then braves the watery depths under Camden Town to see how goods were transported by rail, road and canal. Clad in his old school blazer, Michael heads north to explore the Harrow of his childhood and remembers the tragic rail disaster of 1952. At the country estate of one of the world's wealthiest banking families in Tring, he discovers an exotic collection in need of special attention before alighting at Cheddington, scene of the Great Train Robbery.

[edit] Bletchley to Newport Pagnell

Michael Portillo continues his journey north on Robert Stephenson's first inter-city railway line from the capital. Along the line at Bletchley he meets one of the Second World War's most secret agents, discovers a poet in Olney whose words are still sung today and explores the first purpose-built railway town at Wolverton. Michael's last stop on this leg is Newport Pagnell, where he learns the ancient craft of vellum making.

[edit] Northampton to Nuneaton

Steered by his Bradshaw's Michael Portillo heads north on his journey from London to Leeds, stopping in Northampton, the land of shoemakers, where Victorian 'clickers' have been making shoes for more than 130 years. In Rugby, Michael discovers the legacy of Dr Thomas Arnold and trains with the school's 1st XV before heading to Coventry, where he finds out how the city's craftsmen learned to adapt to survive. Michael ends this leg of his journey in Nuneaton, birthplace of an author whose identity was once a closely guarded secret.

[edit] Leicester to Loughborough

Guided by his Victorian Bradshaw's Michael Portillo continues his journey north along Robert Stephenson's London to Birmingham line. He begins this leg in Leicester, where he picks up the trail of 'the famous crook-backed King Richard III', who Bradshaw's informs him was buried at the Grey Priory. Michael finds out about the hunt for the king's remains and how scientists managed to prove that the skeleton found under a car park was him. From Rothley, Michael works his passage on the Great Central Railway to Loughborough, where the bells have been tolling since 1839.

[edit] Nottingham to Leeds

On the final leg of his journey along the first inter-city line to be built from the capital, Michael Portillo rediscovers a once-famous poet in Nottingham. In Mansfield he travels on a railway line resurrected by popular demand after falling victim to Beeching's cuts, then heads to Worksop, where he learns about the burrowing activities of an eccentric Duke. Michael's next stop is 'railway city' Doncaster, where in the nineteenth century thousands laboured to build trains and where in the twentieth century, rail workers shaped British political history. His last stop on this journey is Leeds, where he auditions at the Venus and Venice of Variety on the stage at Britain's oldest continuously working music hall.

[edit] Southampton to Basingstoke

Michael Portillo embarks on a journey from Southampton to Wolverhampton. On this first leg he learns to set table aboard the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth before she sets sail and discovers how Cunard steamers began by transporting post across the Atlantic. He then heads to Netley, where he discovers the remains of an extensive military hospital built by order of Queen Victoria and from there to Basingstoke, where he finds out about a pitched battle between townspeople and the Salvation Army.

[edit] Winchfield to Crowthorne

Michael Portillo continues his journey from the Hampshire coast to the West Midlands in a distinctly military vein. At Winchfield, he discovers the vast carriage which carried the Duke of Wellington's coffin to his state funeral at St Paul's Cathedral in 1852 and hears how the Duke's chestnut stallion also received full military honours when he was buried at the Duke's seat, Stratfield Saye. Michael then heads for Farnborough and the army camp at Aldershot, where, after the Crimean War, greater physical fitness among rank and file Victorian soldiers became a priority. Private Portillo joins the regulars to be put through his paces under military instruction. Sanctuary is not far away in Farnborough North at the Benedictine Monastery of St Michael, where Michael visits the tomb of the French Emperor Napoleon III and his family. He ends this second leg of his journey in Crowthorne, where in the year his Bradshaw's was published, there opened a notorious new institution: England's first Asylum for the Criminally Insane, Broadmoor.

[edit] Wokingham to Bradford-on-Avon

Michael Portillo heads north from the south coast towards the West Midlands. The third leg begins in Wokingham, where Bradshaw's reports the proprietor of The Times newspaper resided and where he was a great benefactor. Michael finds out how demand from a growing number of rail commuters fuelled the development of the modern printing press and learns how to print on an iron press. He then heads to Newbury, where he encounters a Tudor captain of industry, who manufactured cloth in enormous volumes. Michael's next destination is Trowbridge, where Sir Isaac Pitman invented his famous shorthand. He ends this leg of the journey in Bradford on Avon, where he hears from a local manufacturer how his Victorian forebears were the first in Britain to be licensed to vulcanise rubber. They supplied springs, buffers and hoses for the locomotive industry and now make rubber suspensions systems for bicycles.

[edit] Chippenham to Gloucester

Michael Portillo continues his journey from Southampton to Wolverhampton beginning today in Chippenham, where at Lacock Abbey he discovers how the world's first photographic negative was made and learns how to make a print. He travels on to Bristol to visit the Victorian Clifton Zoo, where he finds tigers and polar bears before him also arrived by train. Next stop is Severn Tunnel Junction in Wales, where he explores an extraordinary piece of Victorian engineering with its own pump house pumping out millions of gallons a day to keep it dry. Michael then heads for Gloucester to find out why the station became infamous for lost luggage. At the city's cathedral, Michael meets a stonemason who bravely invites him to chip away.

[edit] Cheltenham to Wolverhampton

On the final leg of his journey from Southampton to Wolverhampton, Michael Portillo's first destination is the elegant spa town of Cheltenham, where he discovers a very early locomotive carriage which ran not on rails but on the road and is lucky enough to get behind the wheel. His next stop is the medieval town of Tewkesbury, scene of a grisly battle during the Wars of the Roses. Armour-plated and sword at the ready, Michael joins a group of re-enactors for a taste of the action. Mercifully unscathed, he makes tracks for Droitwich to find out about how a lowly boatman became the King of Salt and lived in a beautiful chateau, an unexpected sight in the Midlands countryside. Michael's journey ends in Wolverhampton, where he hears Queen Victoria made an emotional visit which signalled the end of her exile from public life after mourning her husband, Prince Albert. He learns how the townspeople showed off their talents to the Queen, among them the lost art of Japanning, a speciality of Wolverhampton.

[edit] Norwich to Brandon

Michael Portillo embarks on a journey from Norwich to Chichester. On this first leg he explores Norwich's medieval heart. In the city's Norman castle he uncovers the Victorian public's gory fascination with crime and punishment and finds out how campaigners such as Elizabeth Fry, who was born in Norwich, worked to improve conditions for prisoners. At the city's livestock market, Michael learns how to buy a calf at auction with a subtle twitch of his guidebook. He then heads west to Thetford to explore the rabbit warrens of the Brecks. He discovers how the Victorian appetite for rabbits and their fur led to special train services to London, known as Bunny Trains. After a painful encounter with a polecat, Michael heads northwest to Brandon, home of some of the best quality flint in Britain and tries his hand at flint-knapping.

[edit] Ipswich to Chelmsford

Michael Portillo continues his journey from the east coast to the south coast beginning in the port of Ipswich, capital of the farming county of Suffolk. His first port of call is an agricultural implement works with its own railway sidings. Michael investigates what could have earned the Victorian manufacturer a special mention in his Bradshaw's. Continuing his journey south west into Essex Michael dredges oysters off Mersea Island before taking the train to Witham, where he discovers a model farming establishment at Tiptree. His final destination is Chelmsford and the world's first purpose-built radio equipment factory, established by Guglielmo Marconi.

[edit] Ilford to Rochester

Steered by his Bradshaw's, Michael Portillo heads along the Essex bank of the Thames before crossing the river into the Garden of England, Kent. He begins this leg at Barkingside, where a Victorian philanthropist called Dr Thomas Barnardo made it his life's work to transform the lives of destitute children. From Upminster Michael takes the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway to Tilbury and finds out how the line and the old station transformed the town into one of the country's most important ports. At the docks, Michael tries his hand at loading a container on to a pocket wagon. Over the river at Gravesend Michael discovers how one of Queen Victoria's favourite army officers, General Gordon, left his mark on the town. Michael's last destination on this leg is Rochester, where he encounters a host of familiar characters and explores the city which was home to one of the Victorian era's greatest writers, Charles Dickens.

[edit] Faversham to Dorking

Michael Portillo continues his journey from Norwich to Chichester beginning in Faversham in Kent, at one of the country's oldest surviving breweries, Shepherd Neame. Michael discovers how the brewery invested heavily in the railways and even ran rolling stock with its own smart livery taking beer to London. After making his own delivery to the Railway Tavern in one of the brewery's oldest vehicles, Michael heads for the south coast to the defensive town of Dover, little more than 25 miles from the historic enemy, the French. Here he uncovers one of Dover's best kept secrets, the sunken fortress known as the Western Heights. In the Weald of Kent, Michael finds out how the railways helped to put Tonbridge School on track for cricketing glory before heading into Surrey where he blow-dries a hen in Dorking!

[edit] Brighton to Chichester

On the final leg of his journey between the cathedral cities of Norwich and Chichester, Michael Portillo discovers the history behind the extraordinary Pavilion at Brighton and learns that Queen Victoria was not an admirer of the Prince Regent's flamboyant taste. Michael finds that while above ground the railways brought day trippers to frolic in fashionable Brighton, underground, Victorian engineers built a magnificent network of sewers more than 40 miles in length, which are still functioning today. At Bramber, he discovers at the time of his guide tourists flocked to the town in huge numbers due to a Victorian museum of taxidermy. Michael's next stop is the impressive castle at Arundel and he's pleased to find that the Duke of Norfolk was a great supporter of the railways. His rail journey ends in Chichester from where he heads up into the South Downs for a taste of life in the fast lane at Goodwood.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4.1
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 20 (~3800Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1280x720
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frames Per Second: 25
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Audio Bitrate: Q=0.41 VBR 48KHz (~128Kbps)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 29 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 20
  • Part Size: 832 MB (average)
  • Source: HDTV
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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