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Reef Television, Channel 4

Penelope is accompanied by the 1930s Batsford Guides, the ideal yardstick for seeing how village life has changed

Penelope takes to the road once again, exploring the world of our smallest communities    

Thatched cottages, the local shop, quaint church spires, and games on the green – just some of the images to be found amongst the 10,000 villages up and down the country. In this four-part series, Penelope reveals more of the heritage and quirky traditions upon which our varied villages are founded, whilst finding out what it means to be a village today. Over four programmes, Penelope heads to four very different regions: the popular peninsula of Devon and Cornwall, and the lush beauty of Sussex and Kent in the south. Further north, the stunning Cumbrian landscape and the royal retreat of Deeside in Scotland.

Penelope, a proud villager in the home counties for nearly 40 years, is once again accompanied by the Batsford Guides – a series of beautifully illustrated books published from the 1930s onwards. They offer a window on our rural way of life, and help reveal what makes our villages unique. They also provide the ideal yardstick for seeing how life as a villager has changed in the 21st century.

Episode 1 – Devon and Cornwall

Penelope is in the land of rugged coastal communities and cliff-edge fishing villages, but also of huge numbers of holidaymakers. She visits the most exposed theatre in the country and Fowey Harbour.

Episode 2 – Cumbria

Penelope is in the far north-west of England, learning about life amidst the renowned landscape of Cumbria and discovers there is much more to life in a Cumbrian village than tourists and tea-shops.

Episode 3 – Royal Deeside

Penelope travels through Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, exploring its considerable links to the royal family. She also goes gamekeeping and takes to the skies in a glider.

Episode 4 – Sussex and Kent

On a trip across the South Downs and The Weald, Penelope visits the Cuckfield Donkey Races, Rudyard Kipling’s home and a cricket bat maker.

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