Great British Railway Journeys Series 11 (2020)

Michael Portillo standing on a train platform with tracks in the background, wearing a blue top and pink blazer. He's smiling at the camera holding a book.

Michael Portillo in Great British Railway Journeys Series 11 © BBC

 

Director: Titus Ogilvy
Starring: Michael Portillo
Executive Producer: John Comerford
Production Company: Boundless West
Kent Locations Used: Canterbury, Maidstone, Chartwell House in Westerham

Great British Railway Journeys is a documentary series in which Michael Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country by train referring to his 1930s Bradshaw’s Guide stopping at places of interest.

Produced by Boundless West for the BBC, the episode is directed by Titus Ogilvy with John Comerford as Executive Producer.

In episode 11 Michael Portillo takes a journey from Canterbury to Alexandra Palace exploring the east of England in the inter-war period. Beginning in Canterbury, Michael treads the boards as he uncovers the political message behind a play published in 1936 ABOUT the 12th-century murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket.

In Maidstone, Michael learns of the international origins of the most British symbol of remembrance at the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal before paying his respects at a war memorial based on London’s Cenotaph.

Michael stopped off in Sevenoaks and travelled to nearby Westerham where he visited the country home of one of his political heroes, Sir Winston Churchill and discovers how the 1930s were wilderness years at Chartwell.

Canterbury is a vibrant City that offers a variety of locations ranging from the modern day city, parks and open spaces, historic streets and the world heritage site of Canterbury Cathedral. Canterbury is a popular filming location and has previously been used as a location for filming for Britain’s Christmas Story (2019) and Britain’s Great Cathedrals with Tony Robinson (2018).

As the county town of Kent Maidstone plays an important part in Kent’s history. The River Medway runs though the town centre linking it with other towns such as Rochester and Chatham. The Borough of Maidstone is a popular town for filming, previous productions include Celebrity Antiques Road Show – Series 8 (2018)  and popular Netflix show Black Mirror.

Chartwell House, Churchill’s former home. Set in delightful gardens, Chartwell is a National Trust property in Westerham, just outside Sevenoaks, and the rooms remain much as they were when Churchill lived there. Chartwell has previously been used as a film location by productions such as Flog It! (2014) and feature film Darkest Hour (2018).

Episode 11 Canterbury to Alexandra Palace airs on BBC Two at 630pm on Monday 20th January 2020.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 


Great British Railway Journeys – Series 10 (2019)

Image of presenter Michael Portillo at one of Britain's railway stations wearing a blue jumper and pink blazor. Tracks and the station can be seen in the background.

Great British Railway Journeys ©BBC

 

Starring: Michael Portillo

Production Company: Fremantle Media Ltd.

Kent Locations Used: Gravesend, Dartford and Folkestone

BBC documentary series Great British Railway Journeys which first premiered on BBC Two in 2010, returns for its tenth series. Presenter Michael Portillo (Great Continental Railway Journeys) travels around the railway networks of Great Britain. He does this whilst referring to an 1840’s copy of Bradshaw’s Guide, comparing how various destinations have transformed since Victorian times.

For the new series, production filmed at railways in various Kent locations, such as Gravesend, Dartford and Folkestone.

Situated in North West Kent is the town of Gravesend  which has exceptional transport links up to London, a cast iron pier, promenade and high street. Gravesend has previously hosted productions including Great British Railway Journeys (2014), The Hospice (2018) and Children in Need – The Rickshaw Challenge (2015).

Dartford is a historic town situated close to London and home to one of Europe’s largest shopping centres. Previous productions which filmed here include Who Do You Think You Are? (2014).

Folkestone is a port town on the English Channel in Kent, with an elegant Victorian clifftop promenade, a creative quarter, gardens, a coastal park, and fishing Harbour. It has also been used as a popular filming location for productions such as Danny Boyle: Pages of the Sea (2018), The Channel: The World’s Busiest Waterway (2017), and Coast v Country (2017).

The new series of Great British Railway Journeys began airing on 4th February 2019 at 6.30pm on BBC Two, and the Kent episode then aired on Wednesday 13th February 2019.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 


Great British Railway Journeys – Series 7 (2016)

Michael Portillo standing on a steam train in front of the control panel

Michael Portillo, Great British Railway Journeys © BBC/Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK

 

Production company: Talkback Thames

Kent Locations used: Dover, Romney Marsh, Dungeness, Ashford, Sevenoaks, Knole Park

Series seven of Great British Railway returns to BBC Two, as presenter Michael Portillo travels on the great train routes of Europe and retraces the journeys featured in George Bradshaw’s 1913 Continental Railway Guide.

In episode six of the new series, Portillo embarks on a new railway journey along the south coast of England which starts at the port of Dover where he is inspired by a brave Victorian sea captain to plunge into the English Channel. Next he takes the spectacular Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch miniature steam railway through the Romney Marsh to Dungeness before heading to Eastbourne.

Episode 16 sees Michael Portillo journey from Ashford to Sevenoaks starting by lending a hand at a state-of-the-art train maintenance plant which is home to the High Speed 1 trains. Next he tracks east to Marden and is moved by music played on Queen Victoria’s personal piano before ending his journey in Sevenoaks where he ends the journey at Knole Park, seat of the Sackville-West family.

Dover is home to Europe’s busiest ferry port as well as the iconic White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle. Productions which have previously filmed in the Dover area include Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Mr Selfridge Series 3 (2015) and Poirot – The Clocks (2009).

Romney Marsh is renowned for its unique natural beauty, diverse wild life and extensive coastline. The Romney Marshes have been used as a film location for The Honourable Woman (2014), Parade’s End (2012) and Dr Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1964).

The desolate landscape of Dungeness is largely made up of shingle with wooden houses, power station, lighthouses and extensive gravel pits. The Dungeness area has previously been seen on screen on Homes By The Sea (2014) and Eastenders (2007).

The market town of Ashford has shops, eateries, a designer outlet shopping centre and has great links with London and Europe which are just a train ride away through Ashford International train station. Ashford and surrounding areas has been used as a film location from visiting productions including The Apprentice (2015), The Monuments Men (2014) and Emma (2009).

Sevenoaks is a town in West Kent with vibrant shopping streets, architectural treats and historic buildings including Knole Park which is nestled in a medieval deer-park and full of hidden treasures.  The area has welcomed filming from productions such as Rush (2013) and Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides (2011)

The Dover to Lewes episode of Great British Railway aired on Monday 11th January 2016 at 18.30 on BBC Two and the Ashford to Sevenoaks episode is on Monday 25th January 2016 at 18.30 on BBC Two .

 

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 

 


Great British Railway Journeys (2014)

Great British Railway Journeys- presenter walking towards the camera with white cliffs behind

Great British Railway Journeys © BBC/Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK

Production Company: Talkback Thames

Kent locations used: Gravesend, Rochester, Faversham, Dover, Tonbridge

This BBC Two series follows journalist and broadcaster Michael Portillo as he travels the country by train and looks into how Britain’s railways have shaped the country as well as the impact trains have had on our lives. 

On the journey between cathedral cities Norwich and Chichester, Michael Portillo travels across the South East and visits some delightful Kent locations. In episode 18 of the fifth series, he visits Gravesend where he discovers how army officer General Gordon influenced the town before he travels to Rochester to explore the one time home of renowned writer Charles Dickens.

Michael Portillo, John Owen in front of the entrance to Shepherd Neame brewery

Michael Portillo, John Owen at Shepherd Neame brewery © BBC/Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK

In the next episode, Michael starts his journey in Faversham where he visits one of the oldest breweries in the country, Shepherd Neame, to investigate how railways helped the brewery transport beer. He then visits Dover to explore the fortification at Western Heights before heading to Tonbridge where he learns how railways helped Tonbridge School to cricketing glory. 

Gravesend is on the south bank of the River Thames and has a cast iron pier, promenade and high street as well as international links at the nearby Ebbsfleet International station. Gravesend has welcomed other film productions such as  Long Lost Family: Born without Trace (2020).

Rochester is a historic City that boasts an impressive cathedral and castle that links back to the medieval period. The City has strong connections with Charles Dickens, and many TV and film adaptations of his famous novels have filmed in the area.

Faversham is a beautiful, historic market town which boasts nearly 500 listed buildings and is set on the picturesque Faversham Creek. It has many restaurants, shops, attractions and beautiful walks and has been used for various productions including Channel 4 drama Southcliffe (2013) and the nearby Oare Marshes were used in feature film Great Expectations (2012).

Dover is home to the infamous White Cliffs of Dover and Europe’s busiest passenger port. The area has been used for many filming projects such as  Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008).

Tonbridge is a West Kent market town with a rich cultural heritage and spectacular scenery. The area is surrounded beautiful countryside and boasts castles, stately homes, gardens, farms, as well as sports and leisure facilities. Productions that have previously filmed in the area include Missing (2010).

Don’t miss the Kent episodes of Great British Railway Journeys which will be shown on Wednesday 29 January 2014 at 18:30 on BBC Two and Thursday 30 January 2014 at 18:30 on BBC Two.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.