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Great British Railway Journeys - Series 1 BBC [DVD] [2010]

Marc Beers , Tim Brocklehurst    Exempt   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
Price: 12.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Great British Railway Journeys - Series 1 BBC [DVD] [2010] + Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] + Great British Railway Journeys: Series 3 [DVD]
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Product details

  • Directors: Marc Beers, Tim Brocklehurst
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Feb 2011
  • Run Time: 600 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004GBB5TO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,581 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Passionate about trains, Michael Portillo charts the great British romance with the railways as he retraces four journeys that were first documented in the monthly railway guide, Bradshaw's Handbook. He sees what's changed and discovers how our love of the railways all began. This 4 disc DVD set features 20 episodes covering the 4 different journeys: Liverpool to Scarborough, Preston to Kirkcaldy, Swindon to Penzance, Buxton to London. Portillo makes stops en route to visit some of Britain's most beautiful cities and hidden-away villages, meeting extraordinary people and hearing stories of how their lives have been shaped in some way by the railways. Throughout these monumental journeys, Portillo explores the secret ammunition factory at Gretna, sails the last steam boat on Lake Windermere, learns to talk 'scouse' in Liverpool, takes a dip in Bath Spa, cooks a traditional curry in Birmingham, tries his hand at oyster fishing in Cornwall and meets survivors of the Coventry Blitz.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 174 people found the following review helpful
This set of four DVDs is from the first series of Michael Portillo's train rides across England. (A second series has been shown on the BBC recently, but these DVDs are of the earlier adventure). Each programme is 30 minutes long and follows Portillo as he retraces four journeys which were first documented in Bradshaw's railway guide of the Victorian era, back in the 1840s.

It's a surprisingly charming series which succeeds in capturing a snapshot of modern Britain (mainly England; there's not a lot from the rest of the UK). Each programme reviews how the areas visited by the railway have changed in the past 170 years.
So although you might at first think that this DVD is just for train buffs, that's a long way from the truth. Great British Railway Journeys opens a window onto English industrial and social development, and gives us plenty of glimpses of how the past has morphed into the present. The railway is a useful device and Bradshaw's guide provides plenty of Victorian description to compare with the modern situation. So this series isn't just for railway buffs, although there is plenty of footage of current trains in service, plus many wonderful moments in interesting stations.
Portillo takes four different journeys over the course of the 20 episodes, from Liverpool to Scarborough; Preston to Kirkcaldy; Swindon to Penzance and Buxton to London. Along the way he calls at thriving cities, hidden villages, sites of natural beauty, post-industrial deserts and meets all manner of interesting locals who explain about the area's cultural and industrial heritage. This is all linked to the impact of the rise and decline of the railways.
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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL PIECE OF RAILWAY NOSTALGIA 10 Jan 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
At long last the BBC have released this excellent set of cds on the subject of British railway history shown the through the eyes of Bradshaw, the Victorian gentleman who produced a comprehensive guide listing information designed for the railway traveller. This excellent programme first shown last year in 30 minute episodes is introduced and presented by Michael Portillo who is best known for his various cabinet posts in Margaret Thatcher's goverment.
His enthusiasm for the railway system of this country is clear for all to see. His style of presentation is first rate, he is allowing the story to unfold through the railway guide so paintstakingly produced by Bradshaw. The journey which he takes us upon is one where the viewer is treated to a delight of social and industrial history which helped shape the modern Britain in which we live today. This is an absolute must for railway enthusiasts and for those people who have an interest in the remarkable way that the developement of the railway system shaped our social history in Victorian England. I cannot recommend this set of cds highly enough, a little pricey but worth every penny.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but where's the Blu-ray? 15 Jan 2011
This is an awesome series and represents the BBC at its best. Michael Portillo is the perfect host, his excitement and enthusiasm evident at all times.

The locations and narrative hook you in from the very start and each half-hour episode is totally absorbing. There's never a dull moment.

The camera work is also first rate but I can't believe this isn't available on Blu-ray. This series (and the current series 2) look absolutely stunning on BBC HD - it's crazy not to put this out on Blu-ray. Whoever makes these decisions, please take note!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series 28 Jan 2011
An excellent series, a series tucked away on BBC 2 with little advertising. It has been first rate. Michael Portillo has been a fine presenter, never getting in the way of the material, humorous and informative. His trips around the UK would be a perfect guide to the country, such a pity that there are not more shows like this. With his Bradshaw he has shown many fascinating places, buildings, scenery and hotels; as well as bringing a love of the Railways and political and social history (in particular of the Victorian period). In some ways, I wish he would spend even longer in the towns and cities - instead of going to two or three towns per episode.

Hopefully series 2 will also be available on DVD / Blu ray as well? (Maidstone, Kent, Chester, Scotland, Newcastle, Wales etc this time around)

Just checking Amazon, copies of Bradshaw are pretty expensive.. perhaps the BBC could have released a copy of the Bradshaw ? used on Portillo's travels.. or is there a Kindle version available (perhaps not so evocative of the Victorian period though)
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BBC Gem! 5 Feb 2011
By Scots Lass TOP 1000 REVIEWER
As one of the many now having withdrawal symptoms as Great British Railway Journeys, series 2, has just ended on BBC2, I am thrilled that the first journeys are available on dvd.

Michael Portillo is such a pleasant, enthusiastic and intelligent presenter - no arm waving, shouting or gimmicks - and with his camera/sound crew he shows us Britain at its best, based on the classic George Bradshaw railway guides printed in the 1800's.

Victorian engineering, steam trains, local historic sights, places of interest and places to stay are all detailed in each half hour programme. The archive footage included where appropriate is stunning and local historians are on hand to talk Michael through particular events and places.

The delight of Michael when members of the public stop to chat - and then give information on their local history - is a joy to see. Mr Portillo is unfailingly polite, witty and above all passionate about his subject. And his dress sense is impecable - he defines "smart/casual" for the middle aged man. I hope series 2 is released in the near future.

Bradshaw also wrote travel guides for Europe, China and Russia. Come on BBC, there are many more journeys to be made!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Travelling by train broadens your horizon!
Travelling by train is an elegant and smooth way to explore a new area, its history and meet its locals. We love it!

Everything arrived in good nick and well wrapped.
Published 17 days ago by Marco Polo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Loved the series when it came out......what ever your Political pursuasion,...Michael Portillo has found his true vocation in life,..a natural...keeep away from politics!!
Published 1 month ago by lookey
4.0 out of 5 stars Sets the standard for later series.
It just goes to show ,you d'ont have to dumb down something in order to make a series popular.Time does not allow a fuller description of the headline items. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dave K
4.0 out of 5 stars Good railway series
Purchased for a Xmas gift , good value for a series box set , very quick delivery in a package that fitted through letter box and I would recommend this DVD .
Published 3 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series DVD
Great series, presented wonderfully well by Michael Portillo, perfect for this.

This is not only good for railway enthusiasts, for me it was the way it uncovered the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Me
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British railway journeys
Another item that I have not even opened yet, I have seen some excerpts on TV so I know that when I get round to it will not disappoint me.
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Brian Everitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely series
Most enjoyable series on TV - which had its own gentle pace but so interesting even if you are not a train person, it has humour and many interesting facts about our heritage that... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Sally A. Hinkley
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine series
This is more of a travelogue than a series for railway enthusiasts. Very enjoyable. I would also recommend buying a facsimile of a Bradbury's guide to follow the dialogue.
Published 8 months ago by Colin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD
The perfect gift for a lover of the Great British Railway Journeys series. Very happy customer. Would very much recommend.
Published 8 months ago by PaulM
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the series
I enjoyed the series when I saw it on tv so it is no surprise that I enjoy the DVD.
Published 8 months ago by DL Batten
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Any word of the release of Series 2? 0 15 Sep 2011
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