Timothy West and Prunella Scales conclude their latest series of boat journeys with a trip down the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, one of Britain's most picturesque waterways. The couple return to some of the scenes of their early lives together and also revisit the start of their acting careers in an episode that also serves as a tribute to William Shakespeare. Accompanied by Tim's daughter and her family, they travel through the gentle Warwickshire countryside and cross the longest aqueduct in England. When they reach Stratford-upon-Avon, they visit the Royal Shakespeare Company, before putting on a performance at the church where Shakespeare is buried.
Timothy West and Prunella Scales embark on more spectacular canal journeys. This time they travel to Venice. The journey begins 14 miles west of Venice on the Brenta, a river that was first canalised in the 13th century. Lined with palaces that were once holiday homes for Venetian nobility, they follow the route that Casanova and Lord Byron took to the city. After crossing the Venetian lagoon, Tim and Pru arrive at St Mark's Square, where they escape the busy Grand Canal and discover the tranquillity and beauty of the smaller canals that tourists rarely see. Their journey's end is on the marshy island of Torcello, the place where Venice began.
Tim and Pru explore a network totally new to them as they embark on a voyage across the Netherlands. Travelling from the Windmills of the Kinderdijk to the vibrant city of Amsterdam, they explore a country that was partly created by its canals. Half the land was once under water, and it's the combination of windmills and canals that over the centuries prevented the Netherlands from flooding. The voyage takes them to the gardens of Keukenhof, where seven million tulips are on display. There they discover why in the 17th century, one tulip bulb cost the same as a house in Amsterdam. In the city of Haarlem they visit the Teylers Museum, which agrees to open up its archive of rare Rembrandt self-portraits for Tim and Pru to admire. Arriving in Amsterdam, they explore the capital's historic canal district known as the Grachtengordel. Braving Amsterdam's crazy canal traffic they visit one of the most elegant canal-side mansions of Holland's Golden Age.
Timothy West and Prunella Scales embark on a journey into their pasts, via the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. Despite living most their lives in the South, they both have Northern roots, and as the canal winds over the Pennines and down through the Dales they're transported back to their Yorkshire origins. Starting at the highest point of the canal, they're immediately faced with the challenge of a bumpy ride through Foulridge Tunnel. Emerging on the other side, Pru steps back into her childhood memories when they visit the country's last surviving steam-powered textile mill. Meandering through the 'curlies', the canal's most winding and beautiful stretch, they are joined by the acclaimed poet, Simon Armitage, whose work is inspired by the rugged beauty of the Yorkshire landscape.
With Tim playing King Lear in Bristol, he and Prunella Scales tour the city and also some West Country waterways further afield, including Devon. They also take a paddle steamer.
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