Have been watching this lately, fascinating program by the BBC.

The Coast team have complementary skills, meaning that between them they can investigate anything from exploring the connection between a coastal village and the birth of deep coal mining in Britain; go in search of the biggest sharks in British waters; examine an 1800 year old skeleton to tell us more an ancient community; discover evidence of a tsunami that once devastated this coast and investigate an engineering project where soon a fifth of our gas will be shipped in from the gulf.

The full series to date in one boxset is an ideal purchase. The format remains largely the same from start to finish of providing a half-dozen or so segments in which various presenters look at a stretch of the British coast and then delve deeper to uncover various historical tales, some well-known some less so. Although personal tastes mean that some of the presenters, and their subject matters, are informative and interesting while others are irritating, the fact that another segment comes along soon ensures you never get bored. In fact the series presents a perfect example of how to avoid being dumbed down by presenting just enough interesting detail at a sensible length without being too cloying in the attempt to be educational in a populist way.

The Coast team

Coast is a BBC documentary series first broadcast on BBC Two television in 2005. A second series started on 26 October 2006, a third in spring 2007 and a fourth in the summer of 2009. It covers various subjects relating to both the natural and social history of the British and Northern Irish coastline and also more recently that of the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Faeroe Islands and France. A fifth series was filmed later in 2009. The series is a collaboration between the Open University and BBC Productions, Birmingham.

The presenters, and their fields of interest, are:

* Nicholas Crane (main presenter, series 1) — geography
* Alice Roberts — anthropology and geology
* Neil Oliver (main presenter, series 2-5) — archaeology and social history
* Mark Horton — marine archaeology
* Miranda Krestovnikoff — zoology

In addition, Dick Strawbridge and Hermione Cockburn presented one item each in the second and third series. Both are regular presenters in the fourth series.

All but one of the episodes in the first series ended with Nicholas Crane stating that in the British Isles, “Remember, you are never more than 72 miles from the sea!”

Neil Oliver
Neil Oliver

Series 1 started at the White Cliffs of Dover and progressed in a clockwise fashion around the coast of Great Britain (with a side trip to Northern Ireland). Series 2 again started at Dover but subsequent episodes have not followed series 1 in circumnavigating the UK coast, instead featuring various locations, including sections of the coast of the Republic of Ireland. Series 4 reintroduced the circular element, starting at Whitstable and ending at Hull, though with visits to Ireland, Normandy and Norway as well.

The first four series have been released on Region 2 DVD by Contender Home Entertainment. Series 1 has been packaged in a box set with A Picture of Britain, and also in a box set with Series 2. Series 5 will be released on 13 Sept 2010.

Series four and five is simulcast on the BBC HD channel.

Extracts from the programme are often used as filler items on BBC Two, for example following a fifty-minute documentary programme such as The Natural World or Horizon, to allow the next full programme to begin on the hour. As the aerial shots from the Coast programmes are made in high-definition, they are also used in this way on BBC HD.

The Lancashire coastline

As of August 2010, episodes from the first series are being shown on Yesterday.

Series 5 is being shown overseas (e.g. in New Zealand on the Living Channel) before being shown on the BBC.

Series 1: 2005

1. Dover to Exmouth: 5 June
2. Exmouth to Bristol: 12 June
3. Bristol to Cardigan Bay aka the Severn Estuary to Aberystwyth: 19 June
4. Cardigan Bay to the Dee aka Aberystwyth to the Wirral: 26 June
5. Liverpool to the Solway Firth aka Liverpool to Carlisle: 3 July
6. Northern Ireland: 10 July
7. West Coast of Scotland and the Western Isles aka the Solway Firth to Skye: 17 July
8. Cape Wrath to Orkney aka Skye to Wick: 24 July
9. John O’Groats to Berwick aka John O’Groats to the Firth of Forth: 31 July
10. Berwick to Whitby aka Berwick to Robin Hood’s Bay: 7 August
11. Robins Hood’s Bay to Hunstanton: 14 August
12. Hunstanton to Dover: 21 August
13. Highlights: 28 August

Series 2: 2006

1. Dover to Isle of Wight: 29 October
2. Holyhead to Liverpool: 5 November
3. Arran to Gretna: 12 November
4. Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: 19 November
5. Dublin to Derry: 26 November
6. Tyneside/Wearside to Hull aka Newcastle to Hull: 3 December
7. The Outer Hebrides: 10 December
8. Felixstowe to Margate: 17 December

Series 3: 2007

1. Shetland to Orkney: 27 May
2. Bournemouth to Plymouth: 3 June
3. Southport to Whitehaven (including the Isle of Man): 10 June
4. Cardiff to St David’s: 17 June
5. Berwick-upon-Tweed to Aberdeen: 24 June
6. Galway to Baltimore: 1 July
7. King’s Lynn to Felixstowe: 8 July
8. Channel Islands to Dover: 15 July


Series 4: 2009

1. Whitstable to Isle of Wight: 14 July
2. France – Cap Gris-Nez to Mont Saint-Michel: 21 July
3. Land’s End to Porthcawl: 28 July
4. Cork to Dublin: 4 August
5. Anglesey to Blackpool: 11 August
6. Inner Hebrides to Faroe Islands: 18 August
7. Norway – Lillesand to Svalbard: 25 August
8. Rosyth to Hull: 1 September

Series 5: 2010

1. Heart of the British Isles – A Grand Tour – Sun 25 July 2010
2. Swanage to Land’s End – Wed 28 July 2010
3. Brittany – Wed 4 August 2010
4. The Gower to Anglesey – Sun 8 August 2010
5. Galway to Arranmore Island – Wed 11 August 2010
6. Glasgow to Edinburgh via the Caledonian Canal – Wed 18 August 2010
7. Skagen, Denmark – Wed 4 August 2010 (NZ Living)
8. The Humber to the Thames – Wed 11 August 2010 (NZ Living)

Celtic 1 Blackburn Rovers 2


BLACKBURN Rovers have ended their pre-season campaign with an impressive 2-1 victory at Scottish Premier League side Celtic.

Goals in each half from David Dunn and Alan Judge were enough to give Sam Allardyce’s men the perfect lift ahead of next weekend’s Premier League opener.

Marc Antoine Fortune had levelled for the hosts in the first half but Rovers were well worth their victory.

Lining up in a 4-1-3-2 formation, Rovers started brightly with David Dunn pulling the strings in the heart of the midfield.

It was from a moment of Dunn wizardry that created the first real chance of the game on nine minutes as his raking pass picked out the marauding Brett Emerton.

The Australian attempted to head the ball over the advancing goalkeeper but Lucasz Zaluska was able to parry the ball into the air and collect at the second effort.

It came as no surprise though when Dunn produced the opener on 11 minutes, brilliantly curling a 25-yard free kick past Zaluska after Nikola Kalinic had been fouled.

Celtic were level just five minutes later though as Marc Antoine Fortune latched onto Patrick McCourt’s precise through ball before slotting the ball across Paul Robinson and into the net.

Marc Antoine Fortune
Marc Antoine Fortune

Rovers continued to do most of the pressing though and almost retook the lead when Michel Salgado’s defence-splitting through ball was headed across goal by Josh Morris.

The waiting Nick Blackman looked certain to head home from close range but Charlie Mulgrew was just able to flick the ball away.

At the other end, Celtic were a threat as well though and substitute Morten Rasmussen should have done better when he was put clear through on goal, with his feeble effort easily cleared by Phil Jones.

Rovers came out quickly after the break and should have been ahead on 47 minutes when Croatian striker Kalinic picked up a loose ball just yards out from goal.

Nikola Kalinic

His well hit shot though deflected off Zaluska’s legs and Celtic were able to clear.

Dunn was the next to go close on 52 minutes with a sublime 30-yard chip that had Zaluska stranded but which sailed inches over the bar.

Salgado then saw a long range shot fly over while at the other end Fortune should have done better when he raced clear of the Rovers defence.

The visitors retook the lead on 65 minutes though through substitute Alan Judge. The midfielder’s low shot from the edge of the box crept in at the near post after Kalinic’s neat pass.

Goalkeeper Paul Robinson, fresh from announcing his international retirement, reacted smartly to parry Ben Hutchinson’s shot wide on 79 minutes

NEIL LENNON has given up on his two-year battle to get Paddy McCourt up to peak sharpness.

But Celtic manager Lenny reckons the Derry Pele is sure to fit into his SPL title charge.

McCourt teased and tormented Blackburn as the Hoops ended their pre-season preparations.

He gave ex-Real Madrid right-back Michel Salgado a roasting and created a stunning goal for Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Lennon admits there’s no chance of McCourt ever being able to string together a dozen full games.

But he is still tipping his countryman – who has been handed a new three-year deal – to fill Aiden McGeady’s boots.

Lennon said: “Paddy was playing against Salgado, who is a world-class full-back, and he gave him a really tough time.

“He’s wonderful to watch and is beautifully balanced. He has great vision and two great feet.

“He is a different type of player to Aiden and he doesn’t have McGeady’s dynamic style of play.

“But his other qualities more than make up for that and we saw them all here.

“His vision and touch are great and so are his appreciation, weight and timing of a pass. Paddy was very good and his fitness is improving, but he still needs a breather at times.

“I don’t know if we can ever get him fully fit. We’ve been trying to do it for two years now.

“We might have to accept he’s never going to be fully fit.

“We will have to monitor him as best we can and look at giving him games then giving him a rest.

“It would be good for him to play five, six or even ten games consistently, but he’s not done that yet.

“In fact, we’d all love him to play 25 or 30 games a season, but we’ll have to take it week to week.”

McCourt, 26, was the stand-out as a makeshift Hoops side lost 2-1 to Rovers in the lowest of low-key friendlies.

David Dunn and sub Alan Judge netted either side of Fortune’s well-taken effort in front of just 20,000 fans.

David Dunn
David Dunn

Lennon bemoaned more defensive lapses from Celts, who have now lost 11 goals in five games over 11 days. Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson – who quit England just hours earlier – excelled with a couple of superb stops.

Lennon added: “I was pleased with some of the performances, but the rest were debatable.

“We conceded a really poor second goal at a spell in the game when I felt we were on top.

“We can still improve at both ends of the pitch, but it’s given me an idea of who can come into the team.”

Just six days before the SPL kick-off at Inverness and Lennon decided to throw in the Towell.

Home-grown midfielder Richie Towell was one of eight changes from the Champions League exit against SC Braga.

Charlie Mulgrew and Gary Hooper kept their places, but the latter lasted just 24 minutes before limping off.

With Scott Brown injured and out of Scotland’s midweek friendly, Andreas Hinkel was handed the captain’s armband.

But the defender had a torrid time as Sam Allardyce’s stars made the brighter opening.

Lukasz Zaluska denied Brett Emerton after eight minutes, but Rovers were ahead three minutes later.

Dunn whipped a stunning free-kick over the wall and inside the right-hand post after Towell fouled Nikola Kalinic.

But Celtic stormed back into the game after 16 minutes with McCourt feeding Fortune for a splendid finish.

McCourt twisted away from Emerton wide on the left and threaded the ball through for Fortune to beat Robinson.

Celts fell behind again after 64 minutes, with Hinkel guilty of a defensive lapse as sub Judge nipped in to score.

Robinson’s flying save denied Daryl Murphy a leveller after 79 minutes following good work by Hoops sub Ben Hutchinson.

Then Hutchinson flashed a 20-yard drive inches past the post after 87 minutes, but Celts couldn’t find an equaliser.

GOALS from David Dunn and Alan Judge again exposed Celtic’s defensive frailties as Blackburn Rovers won a pre-season friendly at Parkhead 2-1.

Dunn and Judge scored either side of a Marc-Antoine Fortune strike, as the two sides rounded off their preparations for their league campaigns, which begin next weekend.