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24 September 2014
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How We Built Britain 
David Dimbleby with statue of Neptune at Stourhead Gardens

How We Built Britain – starts Sunday 3 June at 9pm on BBC One


David Dimbleby provides a revealing insight into the British character through the extraordinary landscape of Britain's buildings, as he takes an epic journey around the British Isles for BBC One's landmark series, How We Built Britain.


From our most magnificent cathedrals to ordinary urban terraced housing, from medieval castles to the swagger of high-tech corporate HQs, from industrial cities to romantic villages – from the extravagant to the mundane – David travels around the country to the different regions and tells dramatic stories of how one particular period of architecture gave each region its unique character.


During the course of the series, David explores the buildings that define a nation, which grew out of the experiences and beliefs of the British people – from the half-timbered villages of Shakespeare's England to the dramatic mills and mansions of the Victorian North, and the cathedrals and manor houses of medieval East Anglia.


How We Built Britain follows the success of last year's BBC One series A Picture Of Britain.


Britain In Pictures accompanies the BBC One series on BBC Four, and invites some of Britain's most distinguished and renowned photographers to visit areas of Britain that have a special meaning for them, and to capture some of the most interesting public, industrial and domestic architecture.


Their aim is to produce outstanding images directly inspired by the history and/or architecture of buildings in each of the regions.


Britain In Pictures is presented by Tom Ang, and features photographers Emily Allchurch, Harry Borden, Jill Furminovsky and David Shrigley.


How We Built Britain may also inspire viewers to rediscover and re-engage with the architecture that surrounds them.


Whether it's taking a trip to a well-known historic building they last visited on a school trip, photographing the everyday architecture they can see out of their window, or considering the arguments for and against new development in their region, How We Built Britain actively encourages viewers to express their opinions and share their pictures.


Viewers are invited to go to the BBC website,, to upload their photographs of British buildings to a BBC Britain In Pictures group on the photo sharing site, Flickr.


The BBC is building a gallery of the most popular images in the group and the top 20 photos will go on display at the National Media Museum.


The gallery can be viewed online or by digital viewers pressing the Red button throughout the series.


BBC Learning buses will also be at some of the buildings featured in the series, offering photography advice and providing help on uploading photos to the website.


Viewers can also go on a virtual tour of some of the featured buildings in the series at


In an exciting collaboration with Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth, the BBC is launching 3D photographic representations of Ely Cathedral, Burghley House, Bath's Royal Crescent, the Scottish Parliament buildings and Blackpool Tower Ballroom.


By clicking and dragging their mouse, visitors to the site will be able to explore the building – zooming in to see the smallest decorative detail, or zooming out and panning through 360° to place the building in a wider context.


Also on BBC One, Building Britain will take a view on how we are changing the British landscape with modern architecture and new developments.


Presenters including Germaine Greer, Peter Ackroyd and Loyd Grossman will look at the changes taking place in their region and ask provocative questions about the future face of their cities and towns.


The films will lead into a series of local debates around the country, organised in partnership with RIBA and broadcast by BBC Local Radio during Architecture Week from 15 to 24 June 2007.


How We Built Britain is accompanied by a book written by David Dimbleby and published by Bloomsbury. A DVD of the series will be available later in the year.


Notes to Editors


  • The RIBA is launching an online architecture exhibition, designed to complement the BBC's new flagship arts series. The RIBA's How We Built Britain online exhibition will be based entirely on drawings, photographs, models, books and manuscripts from the outstanding collections of the RIBA British Architectural Library – one of the greatest collections of architectural material in the world. The exhibition can be viewed at from the beginning of June.


  • The National Media Museum in Bradford will be hosting Britain In Pictures, a display about British architecture, showcasing images from the BBC Four series and incorporating images from the museum's photography collection on a searchable database. The exhibition runs from 19 June to 29 September 2007.









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