THE Kennet and Avon canal comes into sharp focus this evening (Friday), as a BBC presenter drifts along the waterway, marking the start of an in depth series about the nation's canals.
Pull up a chair to watch the initial, BBC One programme in the seven-part series: Canals: The Making of a Nation Comes to Berkshire, which sees presenter Liz McIvor travel along the Kennet and Avon canal route, to tell a deeper story of how the country's waterways helped change people's lives – and how that legacy lives on today.
The ‘golden age’ of canals opened up trade and acted as a catalyst to the industrial revolution in the 1770s to 1830s and Ms McIvor - an expert in industrial history and curator at Bradford Industrial Museum - takes viewers on a journey to show how instrumental canals were in shaping the modern world and how they came to be.
“The canals have been covered by television programmes before, which have lately tended to focus on them as pleasureways. This is how most of us know and love them today…but not so long ago they were used for the opposite of leisure and were not the rural idyll they now seem," said Ms McIvor.
Executive Producer, Tony Parker, added:
“We wanted to tell a different story about canals – and look at their wider impact and significance in terms of our history."
Tonight's introductory programme will be followed by a series of further six programmes in the Canals - the Making of a Nation series - switching over to BBC 4 - and starting at 8pm, including Engineering (Sept 1), Geology (Sept 8), Capitalism (Sept 15), The Workers (Sept 22), The Boat People (Sept 29) and Heritage (Oct 6), and which include other regions across the UK.
Canals: The Making of a Nation Comes to Berkshire will be shown on BBC One at 7.30pm this evening (Friday Aug 28).