Press Centre

A Great Welsh Adventure with Griff Rhys Jones

  • Episode: 

    7 of 8

  • Title: 

    Border
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Mon 17 Feb 2014
  • TX Confirmed: 

    No
  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 8.30pm
  • Week: 

    Week 08 2014 : Sat 15 Feb - Fri 21 Feb
  • Channel: 

    ITV
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing - in the public domain - until Tuesday 11 February 2014.
 
Episode seven: Border
 
“I’m setting out on a personal odyssey, you see I was born in Wales but brought up in Essex and now I’m coming back. I want to get to grips with a wonderful, magical, remarkable country – Wales.” Griff Rhys Jones
 
Griff Rhys Jones presents this brand new series on his native country Wales, famed for its beautiful landscapes, friendly locals and Celtic traditions. Over eight episodes, Griff explores the land of his birth, appreciating the stunning scenery and searching for his inner Welshman.
 
In each programme Griff visits a different part of Wales; Snowdonia, Gower, Pembrokeshire, Anglesey, Mid Wales, Conwy, Border, Brecon. He is also set challenges designed to test his Celtic credentials and bring out his adventurous spirit. From searching for the Holy Grail to taking a dip in a mountain lake, Griff canoes, climbs, abseils and rides his way across the Welsh countryside in a bid to uncover the true spirit of Wales. 
 
In episode seven Griff travels to the Border region of Wales where he walks across the top of the Severn Bridge, canoes up the River Wye and is challenged to perform the Welsh National Anthem. 
 
Griff’s journey begins this week in England at an old ferry crossing near Bristol which many years ago was used to transport people to Wales.  When it was first built it was considered to be very modern and transported celebrities and the wealthy to Cardiff. Griff says: “This was how the rich and famous got into Wales in the old days. It’s said that the little boys from the village used to run down here because from time to time they would see limousines with pop stars in them like The Beatles and Tom Jones and Bob Dylan.”
 
The ferry crossing was replaced in 1966 by the Severn Bridge, a motorway suspension bridge spanning the rivers Severn and Wye. It took three and half years to build the Severn Bridge and it has carried over 300 million cars since opening. The bridge is held up by two huge cables, which run hundreds of metres high and are made up of thousands of individual wires. The cables are regularly inspected by maintenance men, who walk along them and Griff joins them on one of these walks. He says: “I finally understand the true meaning of the word vertigo.”
 
From there Griff heads to the banks of the River Severn where he finds part of the biggest earthworks in Northern Europe, known as Offa’s Dyke. Offa was the King of Mercia over 1000 years ago and the works run the full border between England and Wales. Griff says: “It’s a work of gigantic effort – I mean much bigger than the pyramids it’s a huge undertaking.”
 
Next Griff travels to Monmouthshire, to the town of Chepstow where he takes Welsh lessons and learns the words to the Welsh National Anthem which he has been challenged to perform. Griff also joins a group of canoeists to paddle up the River Wye where he gets the best views of Chepstow Castle and learns more about Tintern Abbey. Also in Tintern he meets a group of hand-bell ringers who he asks to perform the Welsh national anthem with him. But will they agree?