Michael Portillo explores New South Wales by train, travelling 570 miles from Sydney to the mining city of Broken Hill. He explores the origins of Sydney as a penal colony, visiting the Hyde Park barracks where many of the first convicts were housed. He also tours the city’s iconic opera house, and volunteers for the lifesaving club at Bondi Beach. In the Blue Mountains, he learns about people’s relationship to the land from his indigenous guide, before reaching Katoomba, where he rides the steepest railway in the world.
Steam Train Britain (Yesterday | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Thursday 7th November 2019)
On the Welsh Highland Railway, trainee Claire Oates takes her driving test, while chef Alex and manager Michelle prepare a dinner for 130 people on the East Lancashire railway.
London Calling: Cold War Letters (BBC 4/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Thursday 7th November 2019)
On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this documentary reveals how for more than 25 years, the BBC gave voice to the silenced people of the former communist state of East Germany by inviting them to secretly write in to a radio show called Letters without Signature. Broadcast on the BBC’s German Service, the programme gave voice to ordinary citizens who wrote about life under the repressive communist regime.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson (BBC 4/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Thursday 7th November 2019)
To mark the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, John Simpson, the BBC’s longest-serving correspondent, goes back to his reports on what he believes to be the most important story he has ever covered. Back then, John thought the even would change the world for the better, for ever. Three decades on, he looks at how history has actually turned out and whether he was wrong to have been so optimistic.
Gareth Edwards’ Great Welsh Adventure (BBC 1 Wales/HD & BBC iPlayer only | 7:30pm to 8:00pm | Friday 8th November 2019)
Rugby legend Gareth and wife Maureen reach the final leg of their round-Wales adventure by canal, one which has a personal connection for them. The narrowboat novices grew up at opposite ends of the same street in the village of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, near Neath. As children, they would play in the areas by the derelict canals, but knew very little of them and their history. The Swansea canal and the Neath and Tennant canals reveal a story of industry that once dominated the area, getting coal and iron to the docks. Now virtually impassable, there are plans afoot to give them a new lease of life.
The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys (Channel 5/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Friday 8th November 2019)
A stunning journey in New Zealand, through the heart of South Island’s best scenery. It starts in Greymouth, renowned for its coal mining past, moving on to Arthur’s Pass National Park – with its historically important Maori hunting grounds. The train passes through Cass, made famous by Kiwi artist Rita Angus and onwards to the Waimakiriri gorge and its 15 tunnels and four viaducts. Rail engineers recall how the line has been affected by earthquakes before the journey arrives in Christchurch, a city sitting on a volcano. Narrated by Bill Nighy.
Caravanning with Shane Richie (Channel 5/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Friday 8th November 2019)
#The Isle of Wight is where Shane holidayed as a child, and where he began his career, staying in a unique, rock ‘n’ roll-themed caravan complete with its own hot tub. On his first day, Shane revisits his past with a visit to the pier at Sandown, where he did his earliest professional performances. Back at the holiday park, Shane enjoys an evening at the park’s outdoor cinema, meeting both the holidaymakers who have come along and the staff keeping them entertained. He is later joined by TV chef Tony Tobin to forage along the shoreline for edible seaweed.
All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide — www.getdigiguide.tv/?p=1&r=15119.