Britain's Secret Homes is a collaboration between ITV and English Heritage that in five episodes starting at 9pm on 7 June reveals 50 stories behind the UK's surprising and intriguing homes.
Presented by Michael Buerk and Bettany Hughes, the series includes contributions from an eclectic range of well-known people and experts, including Sir David Jason, Ricky Tomlinson, Twiggy and Michael Portillo.
From cottages to council houses, bungalows to palaces, country manor houses to unassuming terraced two-up-two-downs, some of the most significant homes in our country remain relatively unknown to the public. However, guided by their owners, experts and eye-witnesses, their bricks (as well as quite a lot of stone) and mortar offer up accounts of political intrigue, conspiracy, invention, romance and heroism – the very fabric of British history and in some cases its turning points.
Dr Roger Bowdler, the English Heritage expert behind the series, says: "This series is an irresistible journey into private realms. Exploring a startling range of dwellings, from caves 50,000 years ago to Post-Modern houses just being recognised as the heritage of tomorrow, the series brilliantly reminds us that hearth and home lie at the heart of our shared inheritance from the past."
The Top 50 list consists of homes put forward by English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw in Wales and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Experts from each organisation debated the order of the list, considering factors such as each home's national importance, cultural significance, historical value and beauty.
Each episode is presented from a different English Heritage property, with Michael and Bettany filmed against the beautiful backdrops of Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, Chiswick House and Gardens in South West London, Down House, Darwin's home in Kent, Dover Castle, and Audley End House in Essex. The stories of the Top 50 secret homes are brought to life using archive footage, cutting edge CGI and dramatic reconstruction.