What to say if you like it
A simple idea – a trip round the entire coast of Britain – executed intelligently, combining compelling storytelling by five experts with breathtakingly salty footage and carefully selected archive material.
What to say if you dislike it
History – boring! Anthropology – boring! Zoology – boring! Archaeology – boring!
What’s good about it?
• Just about everything.
• Main man Nicholas Crane is like the geography master you really loved (as opposed to the one who smelled and only wanted to you to remember the names of rivers and capital cities). He’s the main presenter and, while always enthusiastic, is never gushing in that awful Alan Titchmarsh manner.
• Neil Oliver who speaks with a rolling Scottish accent which sounds especially foreboding when he’s recounting grim moments from the past
• Mark Horton, a combination of Billy Bunter, Larry Grayson and Patrick Moore, whooping in delight at the merest little archaeological discovery
• Alice Roberts, the most beautiful red-head ever. And she’s brilliant at investigating the human drama that comes from living by the seaside.
• Zoologist Miranda Krestovnikoff who deserves to be fronting primetime wildlife shows instead of the likes of Titchmarsh and Oddie.
• The all-embracing nature of the series taking in history, anthropology, zoology and archaeology. At the halfway point in the journey, highlights have included an experiment with Kent’s sound mirrors, used in wartime to listen out for invading planes; an explanation of the Severn Bore; a visit to Portmeirion; harrowing tales from Liverpool’s links with the slave trade; footage of leatherback turtles who swim across the Atlantic for a bite of good old British plankton; the construction of bridges across the Menai Straits; an amazing ship launch on the Clyde; bored teenagers in Strathy Point who spend their days by the town’s public conveniences and point tourists in the wrong direction; a recreation of the Highland clearances; Minke whales off Scotland; an attempt to deliver post to the Scottish islands by rocket; tales of brave coastguards and lots of interviews with old folk who’ve endured great hardship but seem much more satisfied than the miserable old folk we encounter in our urban areas.
• The title sequence in which ‘Coast” is spelled out in rock formations thrusting into the sea.
What’s bad about it?
• With only 13 episodes to cover the entire coast, it’s all a little rushed. We’d quite happily have gone at rowing boat speed rather than speedboat pace