Press Centre

History comes home with two new ITV series

Published: Wed 30 Jan 2013


History comes home with two new ITV series
ITV has commissioned Britain’s Secret Homes, a brand new series revealing the remarkable stories behind the UK’s most secret and surprising homes, and Britain’s Secret Treasures, last summer’s hit series, has been re-commissioned.
The two series will be produced by ITV Studios, and presented by two award-winning broadcasters - journalist Michael Buerk, and historian and author Bettany Hughes.
Britain’s Secret Homes, 4x60, will be made in partnership with English Heritage, and will include contributions from Historic Scotland, Cadw - the Welsh Government’s historic environment service in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Together, they have trawled the country to find the 50 most intriguing homes in the UK. Some are still inhabited. Many are unknown to the public. But all these extraordinary places have borne witness to key moments in our nation’s history. The order will be determined by factors such as each home’s national importance, cultural significance, historical value and beauty.
An eclectic range of well-known people and experts will join Michael and Bettany to investigate the UK’s best kept secret homes, and the stories will be brought to life using archive, cutting edge CGI and dramatic reconstruction. From country manor houses to unassuming terraced two-up two-downs, these homes’ stories will deliver eye-opening accounts of political intrigue, conspiracy, invention, romance and heroism that make the very fabric of British history.
Britain’s Secret Treasures proved popular with viewers and critics alike in 2012. This new series (8x30) will again be made in partnership with the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, which lent its expertise and guidance to the first run in 2012. Each episode will focus on fascinating historical finds by members of the public in specific parts of the country, and will culminate with a reveal of the most important discovery ever made in that area, as determined by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme.
The first series really engaged the treasure-loving public, with more than 1000 new items sent in by ITV viewers - from Bronze Age weapons to silver rings, World War Two pistols to Victorian toy soldiers, the experts were amazed at the sheer variety. This series will also unravel some of their tales.
The same production team is behind both series, led by Executive Producers, Ed Taylor and Michael Kelpie. The Series Producer for Britain’s Secret Homes is Michael Waterhouse.
Both new series have been commissioned for ITV by Katy Thorogood, Commissioner, Daytime and Factual with Alison Sharman, Director of Factual and Daytime.
Katy said: “We are delighted to be working with ITVS and these fantastic national institutions on these two ambitious projects. Whether it be a treasure discovered by a member of the public, or a home lived in by one of our viewers, behind each one is a great story that illuminates our understanding of Britain’s rich and varied history”
Ed Taylor, Executive Producer, ITV Studios, who is Executive Producer for both series, said: “We are thrilled to be making history programmes that sit at the heart of the ITV schedule. The series give us the opportunity to delve into the knowledge and expertise of the British Museum and our great national heritage bodies, and then offer these rich historical stories up for ITV viewers”
Notes to Editors:
English Heritage exists to make sure the best of the past is kept to enrich our lives today and in the future. One of the ways we do this is by recommending to the Government which buildings should be listed to help us as a nation to understand and protect our shared history.
Most of the houses in Britain’s Secret Homes are “listed”. Listing marks and celebrates a building’s significance through its special architectural and historic interest and brings specific additional controls so that this special interest can be properly considered when any changes to the building are planned. To find out if a building is listed, you can search the National Heritage List for England on You can also find out more about what listing means and about all the other things that English Heritage does there including events this year to celebrate the past 100 years of state
protection for heritage.
For further press information, please contact:  Amy Randall, English Heritage Communications -
To find out if a building is listed in Northern Ireland you can search the Northern Ireland Buildings Database at
Similarly you can search Historic Scotland’s database of listed buildings on
Cadw, the Welsh for ‘to keep’, is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. Heritage sites and experiences make a significant contribution to the £4.2 billion worth of tourism spend in Wales annually, with natural attractions, castles and historic sites the top attractions visited by 72% of visitors staying in Wales.**
**Figures from a 2008/2009 report by Visit Wales, September 2010. More than two million people visit Cadw’s 127 historic sites every year, exploring more than 6,000 years of history across Wales.
Cadw is the Welsh Government's historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment. For more information go to Cadw's website
The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is managed by the British Museum. It exists to record all archaeological objects (not only Treasure finds) found by members of the public in England and Wales. Every year many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work. Such discoveries offer an important source for understanding our past. More information can be found on, where details of more than 830,000 archaeological discoveries are recorded.
All finders of gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same find, which are over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Prehistoric base-metal assemblages found after 1 January 2003 also qualify as Treasure. Potential Treasure finds must be reported by law to the local coroner, which is normally done through the finder’s local PAS Finds Liaison Officer. If declared Treasure, they may be acquired by a museum at their full market value, as determined by the Treasure Valuation Committee, a committee of independent experts. This value is normally passed to the finder and landowner as a reward. The Treasure Process is administered by the British Museum.