2 March 2011
Huntley Film Archives has contributed footage to two Michael Portillo-presented railway series. The format follows Portillo as he traces the routes of the nineteenth century rail traveller, with the presenter regularly quoting from his Bradshaw’s Guide.
Both series of Great British Railway Journeys had their initial run in the 18.30 slot on BBC2, but the programmes were rapidly seen on BBC4 and the first series has already cleared for DVD distribution.
Over the course of the week-day half-hour programmes the routes of classic rail lines and the stories surrounding them were examined. The first series covered Liverpool to Scarborough, Preston to Kircaldy, Swindon to Penzance and Buxton to London. Just finished transmitting, the second series was extended to a five week run and looked at the journeys from Brighton to Cromer, Ledbury to Holyhead, Newcastle to Melton Mowbray, London Bridge to Hastings and Ayr to Skye.
Huntley supplied the archive footage showing both rail and local interest clips for the ‘then and now’ approach required.
Footage covered such diverse areas as:
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the cotton industry in Manchester in the 1920’s, Liverpool Lime Street station in the 1930’s, Edwardian expresses travelling across the border between England and Scotland, emigration from British ports to New York in the 1910’s, fishing and whaling fleets operating from British east-coast ports, locomotive construction at the Great Western Railway works at Swindon before the First World War, Wakes week and holidays to Blackpool and other northern seaside resorts before the Second World War, the coastal railways of Devon, Hereford station in 1910, L.M.S. trains and Llandudno Junction, slate quarrying and blasting at Blaenau Ffestiniog, a 1904 railway melodrama set on the Dulwich railway (v. exciting!), Brighton railways, Newmarket and horse racing in the late 1940’s, the Golden Arrow, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, gamekeepers and deerstalking, cockle beds, Euston Station, the West Highland line in the 1890’s in a ‘phantom ride’, the Great Eastern at Cambridge, collier shipping, and footage of the narrow gauge lines used on the Western Front in the Great War.
Giorgia Papapietro was the principal footage researcher for the producer Talkback Thames whilst Fremantle Media have released the DVDs of Great British Railway Journeys.