Image for River rhythm

River rhythm

Duration: 02:23

It's at Teddington - 60 miles from the coast - that the Thames changes forever. Twice a day the North Sea rushes up to meet the river, then retreats again. This is where the Thames turns tidal. From this point onwards there's competition. The moon dictates the tides and so the nature of the river itself. The pull of gravity sucks the sea right into the heart of London and beyond, through one of the most famous cityscapes on Earth. The Thames is the gateway to Britain and 2,000 years ago the Roman invaders knew that. They chose this site for their capital, Londinium, and first crossed the river close to Westminster. Later the river welcomed traders from all over the globe and by the 18th century this was the busiest port in the world, encased in banks of metal and stone. But these heights of human achievement had a devastating side effect. By 1960 the river was choked with waste and sewage and was almost lifeless.

Available since: Fri 16 Jul 2010


Ian McShane
John Benge
Neil Nightingale
Mike Birkhead

This clip is from

Natural World 2000-2001, Timeless Thames

This film follows England's famous river from its source to the sea.

First broadcast: 25 Feb 2001

Image for Timeless Thames Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss