Tuesday 10 Dec 2013
Episode 16, Monday 26 September
Long to Reign Over Us (Coronation)
Today Melvyn Bragg travels to London's Horse Guards Parade, to look back to the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and celebrate the event when TV took off. He'll be meeting people from all over the country with stories to tell of that historic day, from those who were there, to those who watched it from their own living rooms. Lady Jane Rayne will share her memories of being one of the six young women chosen to carry the Royal train and shows the brooch she was given by the Queen which she still treasures today. Sandra Reekie will be transported back to Coronation Day, when she watched the event live on TV for the first time, with 20 people crammed into the same room. And the programme will show Lord Christopher Wakehurst's rarely seen footage his father shot of the Coronation proceedings from his position as a guest at the Abbey on the day. He'll explain his father's passion for film and his habit of getting the shot he wanted, no matter what, a passion which has left us with a unique and highly personal record of that momentous day.
Episode 17, Tuesday 27 September
Streets in the Sky (Housing Redevelopment)
Today Melvyn Bragg travels to Park Hill in Sheffield, to look back to the Sixties and a time when high rise housing promised a better way of living. He'll meet people from all over the country with stories to tell about high rise living and the reality behind the utopian dream of "streets in the sky". Sandra Sandland from Liverpool experienced firsthand the radical housing policies of post-war Britain and describes her family's life on a prefab estate before being forcibly re-housed into a modern, high rise building. Also in this episode, Melvyn meets the architect and historian Charlie Luxton to discuss how urban planners tackled the growing housing problems caused by the baby boom and rising immigration of the Fifties and Sixties, and why they turned away from prefab bungalows, in favour of high rise tower blocks of which Park Hill is the classic example.
Episode 18, Wednesday 28 September
The End of the Line (Railways)
Melvyn Bragg visits the North Norfolk Railway where he meets railwaymen and passengers who explain how the Sixties "Beeching Axe" railway closures affected their lives. Bruce McCartney, a student turned protestor who fought against the closure of his local line in Hawick on the Scottish borders views footage from 1969 which transports him back to his younger days. Susan Hawkes sees her beloved uncle who dedicated 50 years of service to his local station at Aldeburgh in Suffolk which was closed in 1966, on film for the first time. Colin Skeels relives the moment his father was thrust into the limelight on the day he drove the last train to Aldeburgh and the man who captured all this on camera, press photographer Clive Strutt, will see himself as a young man. Finally, pop impresario and lifelong train lover, Pete Waterman, explains how nostalgia for steam is driving heritage rail services across the UK.
Episode 19, Thursday 29 September
Dawn of a New Era
Today Melvyn Bragg travels to Manchester to look back to the early 1900s – the dawn of a new era – when the invention of the film camera put everyday people in the picture. He'll meet people from all over the country whose ancestors were involved in these pioneering films, either behind the camera or in front of it, and he'll hear from people whose relatives lived through this time of great change. Melvyn meets Patrick Russell, curator at the British Film Institute, to talk about two of the most important filmmakers from the period, Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon. Mitchell and Kenyon's films captured many different aspects of everyday life, from temperance marches to football matches. Melvyn will hear anecdotes from George Harrison and Edna Grimshaw whose sporting grandfathers were captured on film by Mitchell and Kenyon, as well as Sagar Mitchell's granddaughter, June Witter, who'll explain her grandfather's love of technology and his passion for filmmaking.
Episode 20, Friday 30 September
Beside the Seaside
Today Melvyn Bragg travels to Blackpool, to look back to the Fifties to celebrate the heyday of the British seaside holiday.
He'll meet people from all over the country who lived and worked in seaside towns, who all have memories of the boom at the British seaside in the Fifties. From Les Dennis's lifelong relationship with Blackpool where memories of live entertainment shows inspired him to become an entertainer and Scottish Ballroom Dancing Champion, Jack Reavely, who relives the romance of the ballroom, which offered a big contrast to his working life in a dirty factory, to Dame Sandra Burslem's account of her parents' guesthouse in Blackpool and the tremendous effort that went into ensuring holiday makers had the time of their lives.
Historian and leisure expert Professor Vanessa Toulmin also gives Melvyn a guided tour of the fantastic Winter Gardens, one of Blackpool's oldest and most impressive landmarks.
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