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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey through time and place.
Once again David Dimbleby takes to the road to drive his Land Rover through Britain and reveal some of the best places of interest it has to offer. Moving on from his previous series, A Picture of Britain, this time he invites us to explore the built environment.

In six glorious episodes we are conducted through the purposeful castle and cathedral building era...
Published on 2 Aug 2008 by Dianne Hardwick

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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing change from the TV version
I bought this DVD set because I had watched the series on BBC TV and was very impressed with the combination of spectacular images and beautiful musical score. So I was very disappointed when I watched the first two episodes and found that the music on the DVD is not the same as in the TV version. The series is still interesting, but that wonderful pairing of images and...
Published on 16 Feb 2008 by Barbara M


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey through time and place., 2 Aug 2008
By 
Dianne Hardwick (Brisbane) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Once again David Dimbleby takes to the road to drive his Land Rover through Britain and reveal some of the best places of interest it has to offer. Moving on from his previous series, A Picture of Britain, this time he invites us to explore the built environment.

In six glorious episodes we are conducted through the purposeful castle and cathedral building era of the post Norman Conquest, visiting the homes and public buildings of rich and poor alike throughout successive ages. We examine British architecture and its relationship to the people who lived at the time the buildings were constructed. This is not merely an opportunity to admire great buildings but to visit asylums, music halls and even sewers!

This series is a very high quality production which I found thoroughly compelling to watch. The photography is absolutely first class and David Dimbleby's commentary is conducted with humour and charm. This is the kind of production which leads me to believe television still has something to offer.
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Journey Through Britain's Past, 4 Oct 2007
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This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
In my opinion, as a professional TV producer and director and an avid film buff from 'down under', I can't fault this amazing 6-part series in any way. In a word it's FANTASTIC!

David Dimbleby in his watermelon pink shirt does a sterling job (as usual) with his friendly and informative on-camera-location presentations. The production values are first class with some of the most beautiful camerawork I've ever seen in any English or International TV documentary. Congratulations BBC, the aerial shots are mind-blowing. The music score is excellent too, and one would believe that a mammoth budget was spent on its composition, orchestration, and recording.

The complete series is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 (anamorphic) and is one of the best transfers I have seen in a long, long time, with sharp, clean images and glorious colour. I can heartily recommend this series to anyone who loves Britain and would relish a trip through Britain's past to savour its heritage buildings, its beautiful countryside, and its famous towns and cities. Enjoy!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not HOW but WHY, 23 April 2008
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Written and presented by David Dimbleby, this is a sister series to his "A Picture of Britain" with many of the same production team on-board. The concept is broadly the same too, in that the different episodes focus on a different part of the country, but this time there is a distinct chronological element as well. For example, the first episode focuses on East Anglia but also deals with its medieval architectural exuberance

So the second episode looks at the sixteenth-century transformations in architecture that took place in the heart of England, from Wiltshire up to Cheshire; the third episode is the odd one out since it is wholly concerned with Scotland and not with any particular period; the fourth reviews eighteenth-century classicism in a westcountry context; the fifth is in the north looking at Victorian buildings; whilst the sixth and final view is of twentieth-century building in the south of England (including London). This brings us right up-to-date with the Jubilee Line extension.

This is not a programme about the technical aspects of architecture - alas - but about the context in which buildings arose. As Dimbleby relates in the short fifteen-minute interview that serves as an `extra', those in power expressed it by the buildings they built. In the Middle Ages it was the church; in the present-day it is the multinational corporation. He often strays from his path too, so that his is more often than not a social rather than an art-historical essay. Not that what he has to say is without insight or interest, for example that, "The Victorians believed that for every new problem, there was a building to solve it"; or, with regard to modernism, "We may not have liked what we saw, but we were prepared to take risks." And he is not without some academic background in the subject, pointing out in the interview that he once did a course in Gothic architecture at the Sorbonne.

The series is awash with the almost continuous and marvellous soundtrack provided by composer Andrew Blaney. There are also the usual breathtaking aerial shots and atmospheric photography. One can argue that this is chocolate-box Britain: it is, but sometimes I like to scoff a whole boxful. Dimbleby is his usual engaging self. He is not scared to show his fears: he is clearly uncomfortable with the Blackpool rides and felt more at home with the tea-dancing. Dressed in pink shirt with pink and blue socks, and driving again his Land Rover about the British countryside, this does, however, bode badly for his green credentials; and his talking to the camera whilst driving is a bad habit that might lead him into trouble one day.

There is very little on detail. The brush with which Dimbleby paints his canvas is very broad indeed. For instance, Robert Adam is just a name mentioned in passing. There is much jumping too: in the second episode we switch speedily from the knot garden in Cheshire's Little Moreton Hall to the dry stone walls of the Cotswolds. And in a sense, the title is a misnomer, for this programme is not about HOW we built Britain, but rather WHY.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid journey, 11 Sep 2007
This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
My wife and I very much enjoyed David Dimblebys presentation of great British architecture. It is delivered in the most charming manner by the delightful David Dimbleby. We've savoured the six episodes, and we highly recommend it - if it doesn't turn you into an anglophile, nothing will..
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How We Built Britain (BBC) by David Dimbleby, 5 Feb 2009
By 
David L. Lord (NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Of all the videos we have purchased in recent times, this is one we view over and over. David Dimbleby's relaxed smooth informative narration with exquisite camera work and incredible varied visits to historic building and scenery just flow over your senses to an extent that David almost feels like one of the family. The research that has been applied to this DVD and the sense if being there has to become one of our favorites. Everytime I view this DVD, I see and experience a better understanding of the Making of Britain. Highly recommended, we have given this DVD as a present to people and they have sung the same praises.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SOLID ENTERTAINMENT BUILT ON GOOD FOUNDATIONS, 18 July 2007
By 
Kelvin J. Dickinson (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
DAVID DIMBLEBY wears a pink shirt. Ruthlessly pink. Remote control, gotta turn down the colour, saturated pink. Do not, not adjust your televison set.

Once over that initial shock, however, recovery comes quickly as we're taken on an excellent and thought-provoking journey around the British Isles to see just what makes us tick via the buildings we built down the ages. It's a fascinating trip taking in many different types of construct, from the lavish: Cathedral, Town Hall, Grand Country Estate, Banking Headquarters...to the humble: Terrace, Bingo Hall, Lido, Prefab - each of these (and others) brought into historical and social context by informed opinion and charming anecdote.

Dimbleby comes across with an unexpected warmth, at ease with his subject though not always at ease with his subjects - the song and dance routine at the Leeds City Varieties, for example, felt slightly awkward leaving me thinking maybe he should just throw off his shirt and go for it. No such luck, although...no, belay that lesser-of-two-evils thought.

It's not difficult to be charmed by his obvious enthusiasm (note: apologies in advance, but please take care reading the following 11 words if the wrong picture is not to appear in your mind) - be it peering through a ceiling peephole onto rows of pews or navigating the narrow steps leading to a cellar, there's a certain boyishness drawn out by every wow factor he encounters that gives this series its undeniable appeal.

Production values seem to be higher this time round and it's most evident in the photography, which is often striking, capturing many an architecturally beautiful edifice at its best. And, speaking of things photogenic, do I detect an image-building excercise going on here for the Question Time host and his old Land Rover - a uniform(!) approach to future series on different topics, perhaps? Quite likely. Still, that's no bad thing. On a Sunday night - with thoughts of the following day's grind looming - it's rather nice to be driven around the nation's bricks and mortar by the affable Dimbleby...something that even his ever-present pink monstrosity can't spoil.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for every foreigner on this island!, 31 Jan 2011
This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
A wonderful series! Really offering a great explanation about where the buildings you see around you fit in historically. Brilliant for anyone who hasn't grown up in Britain and finds him or herself a little bewildered at times with the numerous styles on display in this country. Very highly recommended!
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing change from the TV version, 16 Feb 2008
This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this DVD set because I had watched the series on BBC TV and was very impressed with the combination of spectacular images and beautiful musical score. So I was very disappointed when I watched the first two episodes and found that the music on the DVD is not the same as in the TV version. The series is still interesting, but that wonderful pairing of images and music is what I really wanted to see and hear again, and that is gone. Now I wish I'd recorded the series when I had the chance!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where we come from, 15 Aug 2012
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This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent guide not only to the history of architecture from the Normans upto the present day, but it also gives you a very strong sense of who we British people are and our origins. This is reflected in the buildings around us and David Dimbleby is amusing and not too academic about it all. It's very much a layman's approach rather than a historian's, emphasising the motivation behind the construction of the buildings he has chosen to visit as well as their architectrual value for us.

His interviews with the experts and local people are delightful and amusing and I think in his approach he balances very well his particular personal style with the intellectual appreciation of the architecture concerned with the natural response of the ordinary man and woman in the street.

So, not only informative but entertaining too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How We Built Britain, 8 Jun 2010
By 
B. B. Norman "Wex fan" (suffolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
This was exceptionally well done I enjoyed every minute of it and have watched it twice more since purchase. very informative touch of humour and David had a try at everything . wonderful stuff BEA
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How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD]
How We Built Britain (BBC) [DVD] by David Dimbleby (DVD - 2007)
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