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Highlight TV show of 2005...
on 17 December 2005
One of the most entertaining shows of 2005 has now made its way onto DVD and once more the viewer can lose themselves in the wonder of the U.K., as a series of experts voyage around the cooastline of this isle. This epic-series, which is accompanied by a book by Christopher Somerville, takes in twelve hour-long episodes focusing on the British coastline: 'Dover to Exmouth: The Frontline'; 'Exmouth to Bristol: The Wild West'; 'Bristol to Cardigan Bay: Times and Tides'; 'Cardigan Bay to the Dee: The Travellers Coast'; 'Liverpool to Solway Firth: Shifting Sands'; 'The Northern Ireland Coast: The Troubled Coast'; 'West Coast of Scotland and Western Isles: Islands and Inlets'; 'Cape Wrath to Orkney: Life on the Edge'; 'John O'Groats to Berwick: The Working Coast'; 'Berwick to Whitby: The Forgotten Coast'; 'Robin's Hood Bay to The Wash: The Inventive Coast'; & 'The Wash to Dover: The Vanishing Coast.'
The voyage is undertaken by several experts, the principal presenter Nicholas Crane (Map Man) is supported by a team of experts including historian Neil Oliver (Two Men in a Trench), archaeologist Mark Horton (Time Flyers), zoologist Miranda Krestovnikoff (Hidden Treasure) & anatomist/archaeologist/flame-hairerd uber-vixen Alice Roberts (Time Team). The voyage around the UK's coastline shows us not only the present day, but flips into the history of the country - whether taking up specific historical stories, alluding to the climate changes that formed this isle, or exploring the natural phenemona & wild-life.
There are too many great moments to detail, I particularly liked Neil Oliver's piece on an obscure lighthouse (with a wonderful tale of murder), Alice Roberts exploring what was left of a promenade in Northern Ireland, and the episodes that focused on Scotland. The point of the programme was made often when it was initially shown on BBC2 - that everyone in the UK is not far from the British coast, so why not explore it?
'Coast' demonstrates that this country has much to offer and felt like a more-rounded companion to Julian Cope's stone-circle themed 'The Modern Antiquarian' - this DVD is perfect winter-viewing that will hopefully compel viewers to explore the British coast in the new year. Sure, there were populist aspects - modern graphics, references to 'The Prisoner' & descriptions of geology made with cakes, but this is due to the fact that the programme is trying to appeal to a wide audience. Everyone I know who has seen it has loved it - and watching 'Coast' I came to realise that my voyage between work and home is a very small universe. An ideal Christmas present also!