Punting beer barrels, salvaging cars and piloting container ships, Stephen Frost and Mark Arden lead us on a journey down one of the world's greatest working waterways. Along the way they ... See full summary »
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Punting beer barrels, salvaging cars and piloting container ships, Stephen Frost and Mark Arden lead us on a journey down one of the world's greatest working waterways. Along the way they explore the continuities between the working Thames of the past and the river today. This enforced intimacy with the river unveils some surprising stories; revealing an industrial river that survives behind the picture postcard image of the Thames. Starting from a small hollow in a field in Gloucestershire, and ending in the blustery expanse of the English Channel, each episode exposes the working life of the river Thames in all it's grit and grime. Steve and Mark's hands-on approach to the river shapes their interaction with everyone they meet along the way. At the heart of each episode is a river related task that they can only complete by enlisting the help of the port pilots, lock keepers, dredgers and ferrymen they bump into. As they share their contemporary skills and stories, the rivermen ... Written by Paula Nightingale

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2004 (UK)  »

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Entertaining and great content for the history buff.
13 November 2009 | by See all my reviews

I loved the whole concept of a documentary following the River Thanmes from it's source to the sea. Particularly liked the series opening at the source and the way that was shown. My biggest problems were the irritating (overuse outdoors?) of an ultra wide lens showing distortion at the edges and most of all the visual style of constant flicking between images which was just too much and too fast. This is a documentary with both social and historical content and so the viewer needs time to absorb the conversation and the scenes on screen. Flicking between shots so frequently was a major distraction in this production. It's a shame because there is so much else to like about it! I think the various scenarios of punting beer, traveling the rubbish barge and the container ship etc are great fun but I loved the Thames Barge journey in particular the best. All in all, as a former resident on the banks of the river Thames, I learned something from this series and this is quite an entertaining series which did not fall into too many of the usual clichés such as celebrity residents, Henley or swan upping etc. but of course there is always next time...


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