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Michael Buerk and Bettany Hughes take the innate British nosiness about what goes on behind closed doors as the premise for their countdown of 50 ‘secret homes’, chosen for their uncovered histories. There’s the couple who discover a sixteenth century portrait of Henry VIII in their living room; a Cornishman who lives in a railway carriage; and the inspiration behind the characters in Sherlock Holmes is revealed as being based on boys who attended Arthur Conan Doyle’s much-detested boarding school.
London gets a look-in with slots on George Marsh, the Centrepoint architect, who used that building’s discarded materials to create the floor tiles of his stunning home in Radlett; Dennis Severs’ Spitalfields house that recreates the story of a Huguenot family, and William Blake’s former studio on South Molton Street, where he probably wrote the words for Jerusalem. With Buerk and Hughes wafting around some unnamed country pile to link the pieces, it all gets a bit twee. And perhaps it will be left to future programmes to uncover stories from our nation’s black or Asian heritage.