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A second run for this series in which ‘geographer and adventurer’ Nicholas Crane explores the UK’s lesser-celebrated but more quirkily fascinating small towns. By definition, it’s a pleasingly non-metropolitan affair: a riposte to those who claim that most TV is for and about London. And it turns out that Oban in west Scotland does have a few surprising strings to its bow.
Most strikingly, it was the jumping-off point for the first trans-Atlantic telephone cable, which made it pivotal when the Cold War threatened to turn hot. Indeed, the old chaps who installed the line were forced to sign the Official Secrets Act first. Overall, this is by turns gently intriguing and gently soporific – a near-relative to ‘Coast’ in both tone and content. Accordingly, never essential but perfectly likeable.