Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys visits Cambridge on BBC Two this week
- Credit: BBC/Naked West/Fremantle
Michael Portillo's popular travel documentary series Great British Railway Journeys visits Cambridgeshire on BBC Two this week.
Thursday, May 6's scheduled episode, Sawbridgeworth to Cambridge, sees Michael Portillo’s 1930s Bradshaw-inspired travels resume in Hertfordshire, after journeying from Potters Bar to Cardington in Bedfordshire the previous day.
Episode 9 of the latest series on BBC Two sees the former MP travel from Sawbridgeworth in Herts to the university city of Cambridge.
Steered by his trusty Bradshaw’s guide, the broadcaster revisits his former university to hear about a treacherous time in its past.
In Trinity Lane, he learns how during the 1920s and 30s, students of Trinity College were recruited to spy for the Soviet Union.
The former Enfield Southgate MP also remembers his own reaction while he was working for Margaret Thatcher in 1979, when the fourth man was unmasked.
Across the city, at the Cavendish Laboratory, Michael meets a man with a job like no other.
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Lab director Andy Parker smashes particles with the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva.
He shows Michael the LHC’s forerunner, the accelerator with which John Cockroft and Ernest Walton made the first controlled splitting of the atom in 1932.
In Impington, to the north of Cambridge, Michael investigates the progressive architecture of the village school and finds it was built by the founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, in the 1930s.
Portillo's East Anglian adventures this week end on Friday, May 7 with the train traveller heading from Newmarket's famous racecourse in Suffolk to Walsingham in Norfolk.
He begins at the home of British horseracing, Newmarket, where he learns of the interwar success of a jockey turned trainer and helps to care for a famous ex-racehorse.
At the National Trust's Ickworth House, near Bury St Edmunds, Michael gets a taste of life below stairs during the 1930s and is put to work preparing a 'plum betty'.
With a taste for sweetness, Michael also takes the train to Downham Market to explore how sugar began to be refined from sugar beet at Wissington in 1925.
Back on the Fen line, Michael heads for King’s Lynn and Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, where he boards the exceptionally narrow-gauge Wells & Walsingham Light Railway.
Arriving in Walsingham, Michael discover that until Henry VIII's Reformation, this small village was one of the great Roman Catholic shrines.
During the 1920s and 30s, there was a revival in pilgrimage to Walsingham, and a new Anglican shrine to the Virgin Mary was built.
The current Series 12 of Great British Railway Journeys can be seen on BBC Two, from Monday to Friday, at 6.30pm each night.