Michael Portillo fast tracks to the early 20th century to embark on a new series of railway journeys through Edwardian Britain. His “new” guide book, published over a hundred years ago, unlocks Britain’s railways at their zenith, when some 20,000 miles of track reached into every corner of the country. His first journey follows in the footsteps of the new monarch for the new century, King Edward VII, from the grand estates of Norfolk to a bivouac on Brownsea Island. Michael takes a pot shot at the sport of kings at a country estate, where the king dallied with his mistress. He learns the ropes aboard an Edwardian wherry on the Norfolk Broads and joins variety performers to tap dance on Cromer Pier. In Cambridge, he investigates the student days of the young Prince of Wales and the novelist EM Forster.
Grandpa’s Great Escape (BBC 1/HD | 6:55pm 8:00pm | Monday 1st January 2018)
Heartwarming comedy drama about a former WWII flying ace with Alzheimer’s who is admitted to an old people’s home when his family are
Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Tuesday 2nd January 2018)
Armed with his early 20th-century Bradshaw’s guide, Michael Portillo explores an Edwardian utopia with a radical plan at its heart. Michael joins a garden party where a fourth-generation citizen of Letchworth introduces him to the city’s community spirit. Heading into the capital, Michael discovers a favoured haunt of King Edward VII and samples the monarch’s favourite tipple, the King’s Ginger, invented to keep him warm in his horseless carriage.
Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Wednesday 3rd January 2018)
Steered by his Edwardian Bradshaw’s guide, Michael Portillo arrives in west Croydon, where he uncovers a once-celebrated, now forgotten, mixed-race composer with an uncannily familiar name. With the modern British rail network now half the size of the Edwardian one, Michael is delighted to discover a railway renaissance in Three Bridges. After inspecting a new depot and its fleet of new Class 700 trains, Michael is accorded the great honour of washing one down. Next stop Lewes, where Michael makes a beeline for Charleston, the beautiful home of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, where he finds every surface exquisitely decorated by the inhabitants. At Shoreham-by-Sea, Michael discovers that magnificent Edwardians in flying machines took off from the oldest licensed airport in the country. Michael takes to the skies.
Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Thursday 4th January 2018)
His early 20th-century Bradshaw’s guide in hand, Michael Portillo is in Chichester, West Sussex, where he encounters an Edwardian motoring duo patronised by King Edward VII. After a grand tour of their factory, he is treated to some R&R in one of their finest vehicles. Arriving in the seaside resort of Southsea, Hampshire, Michael heads for the majestic King’s Theatre, built by a renowned theatre designer of the day. He treads the boards with a group of true thespians, in a community production of Lads in the Village. Crossing the Solent with a ticket to Ryde, Michael boards the Island Line to travel along the pier in a 1930s London Underground carriage, then hops on to the Isle of Wight heritage line bound for Wootton.
Death in Paradise (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Thursday 4th January 2018)
Detective drama series set on a Caribbean island. DI Mooney and his team are tested when a hotel billionaire’s fiancee falls from a balcony the day before her lavish wedding and everything points to suicide… except for the fact that the victim only painted one fingernail.
Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Friday 5th January 2018)
Steered by his Edwardian Bradshaw’s guide, Michael Portillo promises to do his best on the island where Robert Baden Powell began the Scout movement in the early 20th century. Joining a group of modern Scouts he learns to build a bivouac and finds out what it is about Scouting that still appeals to boys – and girls – today. In the New Forest, Michael searches out some unsung heroes of the First World War, the ponies who became war horses, and hears their story from a commoner who runs a stable and riding school. Plus, in Bournemouth, he investigates a very British institution: the beach hut.
All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide — www.getdigiguide.tv/?p=1&r=15119.