Peter Ackroyd Provides A Fascinating Tour Of The Thames On Sky Arts

Posted on: 18 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Peter Ackroyd, author, journalist and broadcaster, presents a four-part HD series on the river Thames for Sky Arts.

Inspired by Ackroyd's acclaimed 2007 book, Thames: Sacred River, Peter Ackroyd's Thames pays tribute to the history, significance and mesmerising beauty of London's lifeblood.

Starting at the source of the Thames deep in the English countryside and ending at the mysterious place where it meets the sea, each half-hour episode captures the different moods of the river and introduces us to the people who have grown up on its banks.

Ackroyd says, "The Thames is the most illustrious river in the world. In this series I want to resurrect its old power and magnificence."

The first episode visits the source of the River Thames just outside of Cirencester and looks back over thirty million years to when it first emerged as a visible entity.

The River Thames created London, providing a source of life for past and present civilisations.

Ackroyd meets current day archaeologists digging for treasure in the mud of the riverbank and the couple who live on one of the river's few private islands.

The series also takes a look at the River Thames as inspiration for poets, painters, novelists and historians through the ages.

In this second episode Peter Ackroyd explores the river as art, examining the work of J M W Turner and James MacNeill Whistler.

Viewers will meet current British landscape photographer Harry Cory Wright to find out how the River Thames continues to influence him and his use of a Victorian glass-plate camera to capture the Thames as art.

Ackroyd also casts our minds back and viewers are taken upriver to see the almost-deserted waters of Marlow where Londoners once flocked for their holidays, as well as given an insight to the great London docks of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a time when the river served as a highway for the city and the focal point for international trade.

Peter Ackroyd's Thames finishes his journey by travelling to the estuary - a wild and desolate place where ships leave the river behind and head for the open sea.

Providing fascinating facts and stories Peter reveals how the river has been a muse to some of history's most influential poets and writers from Milton to Pope and Dickens to Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows.

Sky Arts logoPeter Ackroyd's Thames kicks off on Thursday 4th September at 8.30pm on Sky Arts Channel 267, HD Channel 268.

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