Great British Railway Journeys 4 January 2022: Tuesday on BBC Four

Stoke Mandeville to Beaconsfield – Michael Portillo continues his travels through England’s Home Counties at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, where he discovers the legacy of a German Jewish doctor who fled the Nazis to settle in Britain. Dr Ludwig Guttman’s pioneering treatment for spinal injuries sustained on the battlefields of World War II eventually led to what we know today as the Paralympics. European wheelchair basketball silver medallist Ella Beaumont invites Michael to train with her in a wheelchair.

Michael heads through the Chiltern Hills to Princes Risborough, where an infamous motor sports event took place until it was banned in 1925. Michael joins local petrolheads who have recently revived the Kop Hill climb, now with 21st-century health and safety. Michael braves the ascent in a side car.

In one of the most densely wooded areas of England, Michael discovers a beautiful factory that has produced design classics since its foundation in 1920. The grandson of the company’s Italian founder tells Michael about the origins and success of the Ercol brand, and Michael finds out how the furniture is crafted today.

Beaconsfield beckons to Michael’s delight, as he revisits his much-loved childhood haunt, Bekonscot Model Village. With this miniature world frozen in time in the 1930s, he could wish for no better guide than his 1936 Bradshaw’s.



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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