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Great British Railway Journeys

  • Season 6
  • 20 episodes
  • Education
  • Lifestyle

Summary

Michael Portillo takes train journeys across Britiain, finding out how railways were used and the impact they have had on the places they link.

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Episode 14: Middlesbrough to Hexham

Summary

Michael Portillo begins the fourth leg of his journey from Derby to Lindisfarne in Middlesbrough, visiting one of the last iron foundries in the town and helping cast a carrot valve for a steam engine. His next stop is Darlington, Co Durham, where he meets the editor of the Northern Echo and finds out about the colourful history of WT Stead, one of his predecessors. Michael then heads to St Paul's monastery in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, to learn about eighth-century monk the Venerable Bede, known as `the father of English history', before finishing in Hexham, Northumberland, where he visits a historic ginger beer emporium.
Recommended

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Michael Portillo continues to chug his way gently across the country, nose stuck deeply into Bradshaw's guide (will he ever tire of it?). He's starting at Middlesbrough's splendid railway station, which has the air of a Gothic baronial hall.

The town was nicknamed the Ironopolis in its heyday so it makes perfect sense for Portillo to make what I think he calls a cast-iron “Portillo's carrot valve”. Then on to a soft drinks emporium in Hexham, so tiny you couldn't possibly call it a factory. But when he offers the bowls club his elderflower cordial, they're hard-pressed to recognise it. Portillo never seems to mind such rebuffs, though.

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Credits

Cast

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PresenterMichael Portillo

Crew

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Executive producerJohn Comerford
Series producerAlison Kreps

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