Great British Railway Journeys 12 January 2022: Wednesday on BBC Four

Colchester to Chadwell Heath – Michael Portillo continues his Bradshaw’s-inspired journey through East Anglia, where he discovers the Essex origins of the BBC, joins the Women’s Land Army to pick damsons at Tiptree, and visits homes fit for heroes in Becontree.

He begins close to Colchester at Abberton Reservoir, a man-made thousand-acre body of freshwater, begun in the year of his guidebook, 1936. He discovers how it was protected during the Second World War by hundreds of mines. It’s now an important wetland habitat for ducks, swans and water birds, and Michael spots a marsh harrier.

In the village of Tiptree, Michael finds out how, as war loomed once again and men were called up to fight, women stepped up to take their places on the farm as part of a revived Women’s Land Army.

From Chelmsford, Michael heads for the chocolate box village of Writtle, where he is surprised to discover Britain’s first regular scheduled radio broadcasting station in a tiny hut. Michael is intrigued by the technology of 1919.

Next stop is Chadwell Heath in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham. A massive building programme after the First World War resulted in what was, at the time, the largest municipal housing estate in the world. Michael learns about the estate from residents past and present.

About Great British Railway Journeys

Cartographer George Bradshaw produced the first comprehensive timetable and travel guide of Great Britain’s railway system in 1840. Armed with his Bradshaw’s Guide, presenter Michael Portillo travels around the country by train exploring the ways that society and industry have changed since the guide was first published during the Victorian era. In each destination Michael visits local landmarks, meets residents, enjoys local food, and tries his hand at local crafts and manufacture, and considers the legacy of the industrial revolution.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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About BBC

BBC is an British television network, and is one of the main television networks in the United Kingdom. It broadcasts in English.

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Alex Matthews

Editor in chief of TV Everyday.

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