Following his enormously successful book "Notes From a Small Island", American travel writer Bill Bryson sets off on a new tour of Britain. Starting at Dover, where he recalls his first ... See full summary »
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1999  
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Bill Bryson ...
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Following his enormously successful book "Notes From a Small Island", American travel writer Bill Bryson sets off on a new tour of Britain. Starting at Dover, where he recalls his first disembarkation in 1973 to a land of rain, sweet tea and disagreeable land-ladies, his travels take him from Poole in the South to the Western Isles of Scotland. Along the way he encounters such colourful characters as the pipe smokers of Solihull, ballroom dancers in Blackpool and the caber tossers of Glenfinnan. Bryson brings all his perspective eye, dry wit and outbursts of comic exasperation to this affectionate survey of the British way of life. Written by Anonymous

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10 January 1999 (UK)  »

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Notes from a Small Island  »

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Not as good as the book, but...
15 January 2005 | by (Grand Rapids, MI) – See all my reviews

I love Bryson's books immensely. As a fellow American who has spent a few years living in Britain, he captures both cultures with wit and charm.

That said, this TV adaptation of his most popular book leaves something to be desired. It moves slowly, is nowhere near as funny as his books, and is far too subdued for my taste.

Part of the problem is that for a TV presenter, Bryson is a good author. He comes off as too bored, too bland...only occasionally does his true love for Britain shine through. Those moments that it does (episode three is the best example of this) are wonderful. The whole appeal of Bryson is the way he expresses his love for British culture with just enough detachment to be witty, and that is far too absent from this adaptation.

Still, as travelogues go, it's one of the better ones out there. It's a case of "better than the rest, not as good as it should have been." At least Bryson is willing to show us the "real Britain," not the tourism-centered part. He knows the places to explore and bring out the charm that most tourists miss. Too bad he's unable to couple it with the charm he finds on paper.

Cheers, mate.


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