Documentary series in which Chris Tarrant explores the world’s most extreme railway lines. Chris heads to the Arctic to explore a railway which probably should never have been built, the Alaska Railroad. Constructed when the USA’s largest state was barely populated, Chris wants to find out how and why it has become such a success.
Little British Isles with Alison Steadman (Channel 4/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Wednesday 2nd November 2016)
Britain is made up of over 6000 islands and 267 of them are inhabited. Acclaimed film actress Alison Steadman OBE has always been fascinated by idyllic island life since holidaying on the Isle of Man as a little girl. In this series she celebrates the wild remote beauty under our noses and meets the people who call these hidden jewels their home, to discover what island life is really like. In this episode Alison visits the tranquil Isles of Scilly, which have some of the most spectacular unspoilt beaches in Europe. On the lesser-known ‘Off Islands’ of Tresco, Bryher, St Martins and St Agnes, she discovers one of the finest sub-tropical gardens in the northern hemisphere, visits a Robinson Crusoe-style desert island with white sandy beaches and a history made famous by Harold Wilson, and gets hands on at one of the world’s smallest working dairy farms. She also discovers how the welcoming islanders have had to find inventive ways to keep hold of their slice of island paradise.
Grand Designs (Channel 4/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Wednesday 2nd November 2016)
If you want to make life tricky, try building a new house with a huge, complex curvy roof. If you live in the countryside you could even make it the shape of a plough. And if that’s not challenge enough, why not build a working barn at the same time. That’s exactly what Mark and Candida Diacono are doing on their 17 acre smallholding in Devon. Mark and Candida set themselves an ambitious schedule of just seven months. The house has a timber frame and timber cladding, whereas the barn is all steel frame and traditional Devon cob. It’s a unique technical challenge for a local builder, who has his own mission to bring work and skills to local people. It’s a non-traditional set of farm buildings made by a non-conventional team of builders. But will it prove a recipe for success, or disaster?
Television’s Opening Night: How the Box Was Born (BBC 4/HD | 9:00pm to 10:30pm | Wednesday 2nd November 2016)
In a unique experiment, Dallas Campbell, Professor Danielle George and Dr Hugh Hunt join forces in an attempt to re-stage the very first official broadcast on British television, exactly 80 years after it made history. The very first official broadcast came from Alexandra Palace on 2nd November 1936 – but there are no surviving recordings. To find out just what went on, this 21st-century team attempts to piece back together and recreate every aspect of the show from scratch – from the variety acts to the cameras – using the original technology and filming techniques to capture the excitement of the day. The team uncovers the mixed influences of high-minded radio and bawdy variety shows on early TV, at a time when it was still a science experiment and not a mass medium. Dallas learns how much harder his job would have been 80 years ago, when the first television announcer Leslie Mitchell was plastered in bizarre make-up and given a cue for ‘action’ that bordered on physical assault.
Secrets of Great British Castles (Channel 5/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Friday 4th November 2016)
Part-dramatised history series. Dan Jones explores the history of Cardiff castle over more than 2,000 years and reveals how it became transformed from a strategically important Roman and Norman stronghold to a lavish fairy-tale Victorian home.
Britain’s Greatest Bridges (Channel 5/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Friday 4th November 2016)
Documentary series. In May 1970, four boys set light to Robert Stephenson’s famous Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait, destroying one of the most important advances in structural engineering of the last 200 years. Rob Bell recounts the story of its pioneering design and construction – and why it caused of one of the most bitter disputes in the history of bridge building.
Still Game (BBC 1/HD | 9:30pm to 10:00pm | Friday 4th November 2016)
Comedy series in which lifelong friends cope with everything modern life has to throw at them. Jack and Victor become dogsitters, and Winston’s jealousy sparks some serious pet one-upmanship. Isa prepares for the Craiglang Community Bake Off.
The Last Leg (Channel 4/HD | 10:00pm to 11:05pm | Friday 4th November 2016)
Fresh from their hugely successful run at The Paralympics in Rio, the award-winning show returns live to Friday with its unique brand of irreverent satire for its ninth series. Hosts Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe examine the biggest and most entertaining news stories via the #isitok Twitter hashtag, where viewers tweet in edgy current affairs questions that other shows might duck. In this edition, celebrity guests Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer join the trio in the studio to help dissect the week’s events.
All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide — www.getdigiguide.tv/?p=1&r=15119.