‘“When Britain first, at Heaven’s command, arose from out the azure main…” Well, you probably know the rest…’ Yes, the Accidental Partridge brigade will be sharpening their pencils as David Dimbleby pushes off into the briny to investigate Britain’s maritime heritage.
This first of four episodes is billed ‘Adventure and Exploration’, but is in fact a leisurely pootle along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall on Dimble’s natty little sailboat as the great man dabbles in charcoal sketches of the dappled seascapes, recalls the time he danced with Margot Fonteyn and moors up at Daphne du Maurier’s house for a bit of a poke about.
It’s sedate stuff – especially after the wind-tossed vibrancy of the Beeb’s own ‘Coast’ successes – but makes for a pleasant enough cruise. There’s also the odd nugget along the way, in the form of the phantasmagorical ‘monkey-fish’ and the curious tale of how the Royal Navy itself blocked Dimbleby’s recent wheeze to locate and reclaim Sir Francis Drake’s body because they considered him a pirate! Drake, not Dimbleby. Oh, and they’re the first lines to ‘Rule, Britannia!’, you traitorous pleb!