Airdate: Tales from the Coast with Robson Green

Doco series Tales from the Coast with Robson Green (Wire in the Blood, Grantchester) begins next week on Seven.

The series visiting British coastline screens Friday nights (Melbourne and Adelaide viewers on 7TWO).

This aired in the UK in January.

In the first episode, Robson travels to North Devon, a 90-mile stretch of coast that holds fond childhood memories for him. And it’s here that Robson starts his adventures by visiting the popular seaside resort of Ilfracombe, a town that stills attracts thousands of visitors every summer to experience the classic British day out by the sea.

Robson says: “There are parts of North Devon that make you feel like you’re stepping back in time, so I’m hoping this journey will help me understand just how and why our love affair with the coast began.”

He discovers that the demand of our Victorian ancestors to be beside the seaside was so great that they would often go to extraordinary lengths to access the best places to soak up the sun, including some of the areas privately-owned tidal pools, with the steep cliffs offering the perfect shelter for bathing.

However, back then they could only be accessed by boat, so in the 1820s, hundreds of Welsh miners were given the task of carving a network of tunnels through the cliffs, to open the pools up to the public. There, Robson also discovers something called the ‘bathing machine’, a Victorian invention designed to avoid any embarrassing swimwear mishaps whilst changing.

Robson also sees how the craggy rocks and high tidal ranges make the perfect habitat for marine life.

After a night under canvas, Robson’s North Devon adventure continues as he takes a boat ride 10-miles southwest of Bideford, to the port of Clovelly, a village that evokes the character and atmosphere of a bygone age. With its cobbled streets and 13th century harbour, Clovelly has featured in period films like Sense and Sensibility and Treasure Island, but little did Robson know that after his arrival in this quiet seaside village, he was about to be involved in a moment of high drama and a real-life rescue mission…

Robson also visits the island of Lundy, lying 12-miles off the North Devon coast, and one of the UK’s most wild and unspoiled islands, where nature has been left to flourish. Within its one-and-a-half square miles are dramatic cliffs, acres of farmland and a spectacular array of wildlife, and just getting to Lundy is an adventure in itself. The Bristol Channel is notorious for its choppy waters and Robson struggles to find his sea legs.

On Lundy, the locals tell Robson that if he wants to get the ultimate view of its glorious coastline he will need to climb the sea cliff on the west side of the island known as The Devil’s Slide, the largest slab of granite in Europe, at 400-feet in length.

A trussed-up Robson sets off on his white-knuckle climb, made more difficult by the fact that the granite has few nooks or crannies to hold onto, meaning Robson must to rely on his feet to create the necessary friction. He says: “I know I’m attached to a rope, but when you’re this high up with the waves crashing below your mind really does play tricks on you.”

8:30pm Friday April 28 on Seven (7TWO in Melbourne and Adelaide).

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