Julia’s Wonder Series returns to ITV

The Wonder of Britain is returning to ITV this August. Julia chats to English Heritage about the 12,000 mile odyssey that explores her favourite destinations throughout the amazing country we call Great Britain.

It includes the shores of our coastlines from Scotland down to Cornwall, and explores our regal history in many unique locations combining the British countryside at it’s best! In combination the episodes create a picture of a dynamic country as a whole, which is brought into your living room with the skilful use of state of the art filming techniques.

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Episode 3 – Our Coastal Story
Thursday 6th August 2015 (9.00 to 10pm)
Being an island, our coasts are highly important in the make up of the countries that are Great Britain. This episode explores the shores of two distinctive isles of Scotland, the Isle of Barra and Isle of Lewis. A voyage down South to the Cornish town of Fowey provides some picturesque and historical scenery. Then finally, there are some astounding wartime caves to rediscover at the English Heritage site, Dover Castle.

Episode 4 – Our Royal Story
Thursday 13th August 2015 – 9pm (9.00 to 10pm)
Great Britain has a unique regal history and there are many locations that tell numerous stories of our past. In Cornwall, the English Heritage site at Tintagel is the first location to start this journey. Along the coast on the Isle of Wight, Osborne House is visited as it plays an important role Queen Victoria’s life. A final trip to town ends behind the scenes at the Household Cavalry.

Episode 5 – Our Countryside Story
Thursday 20th August 2015 (9.00 to 10pm)
The final episode packs a lot in, a perfect representation of Great Britain itself! The Isle of Skye is a great starting point when looking at the dramatic volcanic history. Moving to Cheddar Gorge where the ice glaciers have carved their way through the landscape. Castle Farm lavender fields in Kent show the beauty in modern farming, and how modern farming has changed the land. The final Wonder for this journey ends in the Derbyshire Peak District with a very special person.

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Julia Bradbury speaks with English Heritage about her new ITV series the ‘Wonder of Britain’

Tell us a bit about ‘Wonder of Britain’?
We’ve chosen some of the favourite wonders that make Britain great. From our industrial and royal heritage, to rolling countryside, dramatic coastline and beautifully eclectic buildings, this 12,000-mile journey around the country takes me to some of Britain’s most spectacular locations. From stately homes and bird-filled archipelagos to giant engineering achievements and deep dizzying gorges. The series is beautifully captured using the latest digital cameras, combined with aerial and time-lapse photography. It’s a picture rich experience that really draws in the viewer.

It looks like an action-packed series – what was your favourite activity?
I abseiled off Cheddar Gorge, zip wired across the Eden Project, took a RIB over to the Isle of Skye and landed a sea plane at Barra airport in the Outer Hebrides… I think flying over our landscape is always special. To see mountains and even buildings from hundreds of feet above gives you a very distinctive and exciting perspective.

You visited both modern and historical ‘wonders’? What do you think it behind our ongoing fascination with history?
The saying goes that ‘those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it ’. I think we’re all a bit intrigued by important passages of time and events that have shaped our current situation. Visiting key locations gives you the time to really contemplate people’s actions and the mood of the moment and that can be more engaging than reading about it.

Is history important to you? Any era in particular?

You joined us at Kenilworth Castle to find out more about Queen Elizabeth I. What is it about the Virgin Queen that you find so appealing?
Kenilworth Castle is what I call a glorious ruin and the place lovelorn Lord Robert Dudley tried, but failed, to win the heart of the Virgin Queen. It seeps history and still stands so beautifully in my eyes. Elizabeth I was the ultimate strong woman, who sacrificed love and personal contentment for her country. To marry would have been to surrender her power – something she wasn’t prepared to do….

…. And what was it like dressing in her clothes?
Dressing as her was fascinating and time consuming! There were layers and layers needed to create that very iconic look that she perfected and honed over the years. It was important for her to maintain an image (and disguise her age) so a lot of effort went into the frocks and make-up. She was given some bum information though – slapping lead on your face to lighten ones skin probably wasn’t the best idea….

You visited Dover Castle and donned a WRNS uniform deep within the Secret Wartime Tunnels. Did it give you a taste of what it might have been like for the women stationed there in the forties?
The secret network of tunnels and the history behind the strategy used to save the nation during the evacuation of Dunkirk in WW2 is fascinating. I think for men and women alike the entire experience must have been both terrifying and electrifying. Dressing as a WRN was very entertaining for my grandmother who remembered the era well!

…And did you enjoy firing the gun?
It was to say the least – a blast. Ha ha. Sorry.

‘Are there other parts of England’s history you’d like to discover in future series?
We have a seemingly endless supply of fascinating and gorgeous places in the UK, making the shortlist for this series was incredibly difficult, there are hundreds of places I’d still like to explore and discover! From buildings such as the grand Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew to the secret islands hidden away in the Norfolk Broads.