The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing - in the public domain - until Tuesday 1 October 2013.
Inside the National Trust
ITV takes a unique look inside some of Britain’s most treasured landscapes and buildings in Inside the National Trust.
This brand new 20 x 60 minute series offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the National Trust as we meet some of the dedicated army of people who look after Britain’s heritage sites.
Each show is packed with surprises and secrets and reveals just what it takes to ensure the survival of Britain’s magnificent heritage. And we meet the unsung heroes behind the scenes who go to extraordinary lengths to safeguard it on our behalf.
Michael Buerk is our guide as he meets our key characters across six varieties of location, from grand manor houses to remote islands. Michael rolls up his sleeves and gets involved in the day to day activities. Over the course of the series we see him, amongst other things, painstakingly clean a priceless chandelier, train as a Georgian servant, learn the ancient craft of hedgelaying, photo-stalking deer and risking the wrath of puffins as he sticks his hand down burrows for a crucial count.
We meet a cast of devoted staff and volunteers who show us just what it takes to safeguard castles, mansions, townhouses and some of Britain’s most iconic landscapes. From the Cambridge English professor who volunteers to care for goats at the Trust’s Cambridgeshire farm for rare breeds, to the former gardener in Northumberland who’s a walking encyclopaedia on one of the UK’s greatest Victorian houses and the family who lived there and the bird-mad warden who takes on the rigours of remote island life to protect one of the UK’s most important sanctuaries.
This week on Inside the National Trust, Michael Buerk takes us beyond the red rope to reveal the secrets and surprises behind everything from the grandest of mansions to a far flung collection of islands just off the Northumbrian coast.
At Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, Michael’s roped in to help out with a gargantuan spring clean at the Palladian mansion, former home of Elsie Bambridge, the daughter of Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling. Live-in Assistant House steward, Jess, and her staff have 700 square meters of flooring to hand polish, 220 windows to wash and 390 doorknobs to buff in time for the tourist season. Michael is put to work on cleaning a delicate glass chandelier and helps with the ancient art of hedge-laying with Jess’ partner and Head Ranger, Simon.
In the Lake District, we reveal the extreme lengths The National Trust goes to to conserve its remote pathways for millions of walkers and hikers as well as protecting the lakes themselves. There’s only one way to shift the 60 tonnes of stones needed in the upper fells and that’s by helicopter. But the weather’s not looking good and with just a four day window to complete the precarious mission, will the helicopter be able to leave the ground?
At Wordsworth House in Cumbria, the childhood home of poet William Wordsworth, everything is done the authentic Georgian way complete with staff in costume as it would have been in the poet laureate’s youth. Michael is taken on as a trainee manservant but has he got what it takes to survive 18th century bootcamp?
And we visit one of the most remote locations in the series, The Farnes. We meet the rangers who brace turbulent waters to reach the remote and wild Farne Islands to protect wildlife. The Northern Sea can be so stormy they can be stranded for weeks and it’s playing up already. Will they be able to ride the storms and get to the islands in time to open up for visitors? And there’s even worse news, a tanker has run aground which could seriously affect this famous bird sanctuary.