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85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History, geography & entertainment. A splendid series
Great British Journeys is excellent viewing. Nicholas Crane is an enthusiastic and well informed presenter who is obviously at home exploring the history of the British landscape. The series is well researched and carefully explained, so each programme offers a carefully constructed insight into a certain place at a specific time. It's thoroughly enjoyable and sneakily...
Published on 27 Oct. 2007 by Rowena Hoseason

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3.0 out of 5 stars Shaky
This is one series Iwould really have liked to have liked. I bought it aminly on the strength of Nick's presentation in the Coast series, and to see a some of the walks in the UK (since I'm in Australia, have never been to the UK and am a keen bushwalker).

But as other reviewers have noted:

1. There is lots of blurry/shaky footage of Nick in some...
Published on 5 Feb. 2012 by J. Price


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85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History, geography & entertainment. A splendid series, 27 Oct. 2007
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Great British Journeys is excellent viewing. Nicholas Crane is an enthusiastic and well informed presenter who is obviously at home exploring the history of the British landscape. The series is well researched and carefully explained, so each programme offers a carefully constructed insight into a certain place at a specific time. It's thoroughly enjoyable and sneakily educational. You'll be saying 'I never knew that!' all the way through.

Nick Crane follows the trails of various historic explorers/geographers, and across eight programmes this means he travels around most of the British isles. Much of the action takes place in wild countryside, where Crane gets to stride across desolate boggy marshes and tumbles down steep wooded hills -- you can't but help respect a man who gives a considered expert presentation to camera while wrestling a mountain bike down a 3-in-1 slope covered in mud!

Crane explores how the landscape and society of Britain has changed since the original journeys were made. He investigates the original routes and tries to reconstruct them. He examines the political and sociological turmoil of the time in question, and reviews it from our modern perspective. On top of that you have stunning locations and great photography. It's excellent TV, no doubt about it.

Crane also experiments with modes of transport which may have been used by his original explorers, and tries to marry up their descriptions with the modern landscape. Sometimes his field experiements succeed brilliantly -- at other times it all goes pear-shaped. And we get to see both outcomes! Crane uses various modes of transportation, from Shanks' pony to bullnose Morris, from sailing ship to canoe, and inevitably does one heck of a lot of walking. So you see the countryside around him at the speed of our ancestors -- a far slower pace than the one we rush around at today.

There are flaws; there's some snazzy camera work which is entertaining the first time you see it and then vaguely irritating. The time scale was obviously tight and much of the series was filmed in poor weather (mind you, in some of the locations there's not very much in the way of good weather!). But overall this doesn't spoil the series. I've seen it twice, and in a year or so I'll probably be happy to watch it again.

There have been several similar TV series of late (Nature of Britain; Mountain; Coast). But while the other series tent to scatterwit around the place, hopping from one location and subject to the next in six minute segments, Great British Journeys develops its theme over 45 minutes -- and it's a superior programme because of it.

Thoughtful TV for anyone with an interest in the UK. Recommended.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Documentary By Quality Presenter, 21 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Its been a bit of a 'Bandwagon' to jump on in recent years for TV companies and presenters alike, this walking up and down the British Isles promoting views of the countryside in one form or another,a bit like cooking programmes or antique programmes. We have had Neil Oliver, Julia Bradbury,Griff Rhys Jones,David Dimbleby, Alan Titchmarsh and Nicholas Crane to name but a few. All these programmes will have their positives and negatives for various tastes, but for me the one presenter that is head and shoulders above the rest is Nicholas Crane. His style of presentation is so enthusiastic and genuine, he visits some truly memorable places and does not mind getting his feet wet in the process.The only drawback to this DVD is that it only lasts 480 minutes and the only problem now for Nicholas is, are there any more options left to make similar programmes.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Journeys: Series 1, 11 May 2009
By 
Mrs. J. E. Mclelland "Elaine McLelland" (Cadishead, Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
A nice program to relax in and enjoy the journeys with Nicholas Crane. Nicholas has an easy voice to listen to and captivates his audience with the very interesting information he delivers in the footsteps of the journeys he follows.

I would recommend this series to anyone with an interest in the UK and its poetic and social past.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great BBC Series, 30 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Great British Journeys are films which I can watch all the day with open eyes - every moment is fascinating, amazing images are paralel to very interesting text, I am as tired as author when we go to see the peak of the mountain! Thank you for this great series, maybe someone will read these eight source books?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Shaky, 5 Feb. 2012
By 
J. Price "eumides" (Canberra, ACT Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This is one series Iwould really have liked to have liked. I bought it aminly on the strength of Nick's presentation in the Coast series, and to see a some of the walks in the UK (since I'm in Australia, have never been to the UK and am a keen bushwalker).

But as other reviewers have noted:

1. There is lots of blurry/shaky footage of Nick in some sort of countryside. This I suppose is a currently "artistic" and "with it" style of camera work, but I really felt like sending BBC Scotland an email offering them my old camcorder second hand as it at least has a "steady shot" feature...

2. Yeah, the 'back and forth' pacing in a pub presentation in a few episodes. Just sit down with your beer and talk to the camera. If the space you have to walk around in is the size of a toilet cubical, then DON'T.

3. The music. Blinking heck, what were they smoking ??? No real bands because that requires rights clearance and royalty payments, so there is this 'generic' music that rips off anything from acid jazz to Fleetwood Mac impersonations to bad 80s grunge. Except if Nick is in a church somewhere in which case you get a recording of a section of the Mozart Requiem... Wierd, too lod and just not in character when looking at a rolling landscape.

Still, the journeys themsselves ARE interesting, well planned and showcase some very inspirational people from the past who wrote about their journeys (particularly Celia Fiennes).

Five stars for the material and for Nick, minus two stars for the presentation...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of it is excellent, 8 Feb. 2009
By 
Brian Barratt (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
As an Englishman in exile for over 55 years, I found Nicholas Crane's 'Great British Journeys' a little disappointing. Alas, it doesn't rise to the standards of other BBC series such as Alan Titchmarsh's 'British Isles: A Natural History' and David Dimbleby's 'A Picture of Britain' and 'How we built Britain'.

In summary, I agree with both the positive and the negative reviews submitted by others. There are many 'Wow, I didn't realise that' segments and many fascinating and informative diversions into lesser-known paths and places. We also see an awful lot of Nick trudging through mud; choosing a difficult path when an easier one is in sight; rushing round on his various bikes; awkwardly talking over his shoulder; or pacing back and forth in small pubs. Personally, I also found the soundtrack music quite intrusive and jarring at times. Nevertheless, it is all in all a fascinating series.

It's worth persevering with the irritants, and this is why I score it at 4 rather than 3.
..........................

13/12/09

I am viewing it again and am really very impressed by the way Nick Crane sets his route in each episode by a different classic travel book or guide, the oldest of which was written in 1188! His exploration of social history is fascinating and informative. There are many wonderful views of landscapes both wild and tamed. It's such a pity that due to time restraints we can't be shown more of the old and ancient buildings he visits.

Yes, I highly recommend this DVD but with the same slight reservation mentioned before.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Telly, 15 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This a great DVD for those wanting to see diverse parts of the Great British countryside.

Nick Crane does an admirable job of retracing documented jouneys made during, generally, the pre-industrial age and he always finds time to sup some ale in a wayside inn.

The William Cobbett programme is my favourite. He often refers to documents and in this case W.C.'s 'Rural Rides'. He starts the programme waving one Penguin Classic edition, then he clutches and older edition and then says goodbye brandishing his original copy. Also during the piece with the quad-biking shepherd the last 4 or 5 seconds end with them bothwalking backwards uphill followed by an arse-first sheepdog.

Good stuff indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Journeys, 28 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I remember this when it was originally broadcast and I was really glad to have found the DVD. It was all I remembered it to be and more. Nick is so enthusiastic and he really seems to enjoy himself passing on all the details of the original explorers, most of whom I had never heard of! He really does get involved in the journeys, even if it means getting soaked to the skin! Very enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, 29 July 2012
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
We have thoroughly enjoyed watching this set of programmes and learnt a lot about the travellers/writers, our own countryside as well as a bit of social history. The filming has been quite acceptable, you feel as if you are actually going on the journey alongside Nick; his enthusiasm has been infectious with the family looking forward to each new episode. Well worth the price and time!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Journeys, 8 Oct. 2008
By 
Mark Boulton (North Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great British Journeys : Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
This is a must for all who are interested in knowing more about the bold travellers who mapped the country, from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to Cape Cornwall from the Pennines to the mountains of Wales.Geographer Nicholas Crane brings vibrant enthusiasm to each of the journeys he makes around the UK. An excellent series, informative and compulsive viewing.
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