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S11-E8 Timeshift: The Golden Age of the Tram - A Streetcar Named Desire

S11-E8 Timeshift: The Golden Age of the Tram - A Streetcar Named Desire

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The warm glow of nostalgia suffuses every frame of this look back at a time when most British city streets were home to rattling, ringing tramcars.

As Alan Bennett reads his short story Leeds Trams, the film delivers a potted history, with some great nuggets of information – the 19th-century infant mortality rate was linked by some to the huge amount of dung left in the streets by horse-drawn trams.

Ken Dodd and Roy Hattersley recall childhood memories of the fun to be had aboard the gliding symbols of civic pride. But the best moments feature tram enthusiast Richard Wiseman and his wife Anne when they visit the tram that saved his life during the Second World War and talk about their honeymoon ride on Glasgow’s extensive tram network.


Sarah Lancashire narrates a history of trams in Britain, exploring why they became a popular form of transport in cities and towns at the start of the 20th century, and charting their evolution from horse-drawn coaches to electrically powered vehicles. The programme also discovers why networks were largely phased out from the 1950s onwards, before being reintroduced in areas including Greater Manchester and Croydon. Featuring contributions by Ken Dodd, Roy Hattersley and Alan Bennett. Part of the Timeshift strand.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Sarah Lancashire
Contributor Ken Dodd
Contributor Roy Hattersley
Contributor Alan Bennett
Director Julia Foot
Executive Producer Michael Poole
Producer Julia Foot
Series Producer Ben Southwell
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