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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miniature gem of documentary television: wonderful
This series of 25 programmes delivers a delightfully whimsical package of social, cultural and industrial heritage, neatly packaged into easily digested half-hour episodes. The clever concept is exactly the same as for the first series: presenter Michael Portillo follows Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook of routes on rails across the UK, to see what remains the same...
Published on 17 Nov 2011 by Rowena Hoseason

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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars These Series of DVD's are really good
I would recommend this DVD to anyone who is interested in travel and for this one in particular, Britain. They are very tastefully presented and give a good overview of both the Railways and places visited
Published 15 months ago by Sandra Bull


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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miniature gem of documentary television: wonderful, 17 Nov 2011
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
This series of 25 programmes delivers a delightfully whimsical package of social, cultural and industrial heritage, neatly packaged into easily digested half-hour episodes. The clever concept is exactly the same as for the first series: presenter Michael Portillo follows Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook of routes on rails across the UK, to see what remains the same and to highlight what has changed. He zigzags from town to country, from ports to cities, admiring architecture along the way, and stopping to talk to the people whose lives are still intertwined with Britain's railway system.

If you haven't seen any of the programmes before then it's a lot like Coast, except the theme is our railways instead of the sea. The second series is in many ways better than the first: Portillo is more relaxed and the breadth of subjects covered is rather greater. There is also more information about the trains themselves (even some steam trains: great!) and the railway network this time around.
The scope of the series should please most people, as it follows routes along the west coast of Scotland (Ayr to Skye) and in the south-east of England; from London Bridge to Hastings and from Brighton on the south coast to Cromer; then in Wales from Ledbury to Holyhead, and from Newcastle to Melton Mowbray.
Most of the journeys feature spectacular scenery. All involve a variety of encounters which serve to illustrate Britain's sometimes bizarre blend of historical happenstance. The segments typically last five or a few more minutes and jump from alpaca fleeces to early locomotives, from military history to Turkish baths, stopping to take in snippets of geology, haggis making, historic shipyards, fictional figures of literature and how cricket became a national sport, a trip to the royal observatory and the background to `shoddy' cloth - all this and more, woven together along the thread of the railways.
Perhaps the most moving moment of this series is when Portillo meets the great-great-granddaughter of George Bradshaw himself. He's obviously delighted by the archive papers she brings along.
I also adore the archive photos, which are artfully contrasted with the current landscape. Sometimes they show how little has changed... and sometimes they reveal how massive the changes have been over the course of a few generations.

Some people, perhaps the more serious-minded, don't approve of the generally upbeat tone of this series and it does tend to do little more than skim the surface of the subjects it covers. These are only snapshots, after all; the modern equivalent of postcards from Victorian resorts.
However, Portillo is a canny chap, and often sneaks in subtle comments which confound expectations. He doesn't pull many punches about the collapse of British industry or the problems of the 20th century, either. The series doesn't whitewash events... but it does tend to seek out the positive stories rather than dwell on negative aspects.
The result is both educational and entertaining: visually stimulating, charming, witty and informative. Anyone interested in our industrial and social heritage should definitely enjoy watching this series.

9/10
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful viewing, 22 May 2012
By 
C. TAYLOR "Mr_Rad" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Quite simply a very enjoyable dvd. No better way to unwind and escape from hectic work. Should be prescribed as a relaxation remedy on the NHS. Thank you Michael Portillo
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improves episode by episode, 18 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I liked the personal touches which show how clearly Portillo knows his subject. A labour of love in every respect. Pity then that the producers have chosen to begin every short episode with upwards of five minutes of repetitive introduction, using footage seen at the beginning of every episode, which is why I have given only four stars to my assessment. After one or two episodes we have clearly understood that the series is based on the works of Victorian writer and map maker George Bradshaw. This does not need repeating. Similarly, the last few minutes of each episode are spent in previewing the following episode. A waste of time.

This second series is an improvement on series one, mainly because Michael Portillo is more relaxed and is able to talk more freely to the interesting people he meets. These conversations add to the overall quality of the series and reduce the impression of it being a Portillo monologue.

I now look forward to the forthcoming series on continental European rail routes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Railway Journeys, 3 Mar 2012
This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
The second series of Michael Portilos, Great British Railway Journeys, is very good value. Full of interesting references and is complimented by having your `Bradshaws` Guide by your side.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Railway Journeys Series 2 (dvds), 28 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
This is the second set of dvds to be released. All of the programmes on the dvds have a great coverage of the rail journey which is being made. I already have series one and will certainly be buying series three when it becomes available. As with the accompanying books I would recommend them to anyone who is interested in railways and train travel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Railway journeys Series 2, dvd, 1 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Exellent series.Michael Portillo makes you feel you are on the train with him,and his enthuisiasum is catching.Shows towns and villages I have never been to.His insight into these railway journeys is amazing .Will watch the dvds again in the near future.Great escapism.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Rail journeys, 8 Feb 2012
This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
These journeys are some of the most interesting programmes that heve appeared on TV for a long time. They encapsulate the many wonders that exist within the British Isles, brought to life by Michael Portillo's excellent dialogue and some superb photography. Along the way, we are introduced to many interesting people who keep much of the industry and crafts etc. going in these modern times. Excellent!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoying immensely, 7 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Michael's style makes for easy viewing, it's packed full of interesting info and nicely divided up, so it's easy to watch in parts
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it suggests., 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
If there was ever an example of premoting areas to visit ,in this lovely country of ours ,then this is it.You d'ont have to be a Railway Enthusiast,to appreciate what is on offer,either.If I had the time,money and planning,I would do exactly the same thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Railway Journeys, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I am not into trains at all. But this series is absolutely great. Micheal Portillo is a lovely presenter, and makes everything and eveywhere he visits such a joy to see. The series is very informative of the area's he visits hopping on and off the trains,many of which I have now visited since watching the series.
Places I would not have normally thought about visiting. I now have the first 3 series. all of which are wonderful to watch. And can't wait to get series 4.

Thanks Micheal you are a pleasure to watch again and again. Hope many more series and in the pipeline.
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Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD]
Great British Railway Journeys - Series 2 [DVD] by Michael Portillo (DVD - 2012)
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