Most welcome a new series of Coast is… but really, blink and you’d have missed it! In time gone by, a series of Coast would have 12 episodes, then down to 8 and now we have to make do with 6.
|Nick Crane on the Isle of Wight overlooking The Needles|
Still, these are 6 episodes of top quality. Top quality stories hosted by top quality presenters produced by top quality film-makers. Sea cliffs, rivers and seas, workers on the coast are all classic Coast stories.
In the past, Coast has been a journey around the sea’s edge in a particular neck of the woods, but this eighth series following on from the “themed” style of the seventh… and it works just a well as it did in that previous series. After all, there’s only so many times you can go past the White Cliffs of Dover and talk about them in isolation… but make the episode about Sea Cliffs and suddenly you can link those same cliffs with stories from around the British Isles.
|Neil Oliver at Clydebank|
|Tessa Dunlop at Plymouth Lido|
So it does beg the question why only 6 episodes? Well, there’s no doubt budgets across the BBC are being tightened, and it seems there possibly is only enough money from BBC Two for 6 programmes. And within that budget, everything else is going up too. Take transport for example; how much of Coast’s budget is taken in transporting crew, cast and equipment to the various locations? For my own experience with our Walks Around Britain video walks I know that’s a fair chunk. But another benefit of the “themed” style of Coast is it allows the same cast and crew to film two segments for different episodes back to back in a similar location. Again, something the team here know all too well! So Nick’s trip to the Isle of Wight makes it into both episodes 5 and 6 – with different stories of course.
|Nick Crane at top of Grimsby Dock Tower|
There were quite a few highlights throughout the short series, but Ken Gollop hearing a recording of his father which he didn't know existed was perhaps my particular favourite, along with Nick’s perilous descent along the remarkable ropeway to get to the fishing grounds below.
The big question is just how does the production team manage to keep the programme of such high quality every series? Here’s looking forward to series nine…