Great Canal Journeys

Oxford Canal

Series 2 - Episode 1 Oxford Canal



Timothy West and Prunella Scales return to the nation’s canals – and to our screens – for another gentle bit of water-based wandering. This time they begin on the Oxford Canal, where they took their first canal-boat holiday 40 years ago.

It’s not a taxing watch, but that’s the point; life on the canals is conducted at a slower pace. And there are enjoyable diversions, such as tea on the lawn with nonagenarian canal campaigner Sonia Rolt (who has sadly since died), and some lively verse from poet Jo Bell, the first canal laureate.

West and Scales remain charmingly unruffled throughout, even when they get a little too close to their fellow boaters for comfort; though they do permit themselves an extended grumble when they see how the Oxford Canal has been neglected.


Timothy West and Prunella Scales embark on another waterway adventure, starting in the romantic city of Oxford, where they began their courtship many years ago. They follow the gentle contours of the Oxford Canal through the Cherwell Valley, where they meet novelist Philip Pullman and are joined by their son, fellow actor Samuel West. Tim and Pru follow in the footsteps of author Tom Rolt, whose vivid account of his journey down this canal in 1939 ignited a campaign that went on to save Britain's canals from extinction.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Timothy West
Presenter Prunella Scales
Contributor Philip Pullman
Contributor Samuel West
Director Nicky Taylor
Executive Producer Daniela Neumann
Producer Nicky Taylor
Series Director Mike Taylor
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