After a lifetime of travels that have taken her across the globe, Joanna Lumley is making her most personal journey yet.
Over three episodes, she’ll travel from the Yorkshire Dales to St Michael’s Mount, from the Highlands of Scotland to the cobbles of Coronation Street, retracing old steps, meeting inspiring people, and exploring the wonders of the country she calls home. Joanna starts her journey at Tilbury Docks in Essex. Joanna was born in Kashmir, and Tilbury was her first glimpse of England when she arrived aboard the RMS Franconia in 1947.
The following year, Tilbury welcomed the Windrush from the West Indies. Joanna explores some inspiring artwork along the footbridge at the terminal, that celebrates its arrival. Joanna then heads north to Buckinghamshire, to visit the factory of Aston Martin, supplier of sports cars to Britain’s most famous secret agent. A former Bond girl herself, Joanna is impressed: “I once had an entanglement with a certain secret agent…
In 1969 I appeared in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and my biggest regret was never getting to drive an Aston Martin on screen. I’m hoping to make up for that.” The legendary DB5 model has featured in eight James Bond films and staff at the factory show Joanna the £2.75m replicas, complete with machine guns and revolving number plates, they are making for wealthy customers across the globe. Joanna heads to Silverstone racing circuit, where she gets behind the wheel to take a replica Goldfinger DB5 for a spin, checking out some of the gadgets including the smoke screen and revolving number plates.
Next on her journey, Joanna travels to Britain’s first ever national park, the Peak District. She visits the village of Eyam which was forced into a ‘lockdown’ situation back in 1665, when the community was overcome with the plague after it arrived in the village on some tailor’s cloth from London. Led by Rector William Mompesson, the villagers went into isolation to stop the disease spreading. Joanna meets the village’s current rector, who shows her the stained-glass windows in the church which tell the story of the isolation. Joanna says: “The parallels with now, are quite extraordinary, aren’t they?”
The next stop for Joanna is the city of Manchester, to make a nostalgic return to Coronation Street, where she played Ken Barlow’s girlfriend for eight weeks in 1973. Joanna says: “What I love about Manchester is the music, the energy, the people, the feistiness, the pride, the beauty, and above all, Coronation Street!” Joanna visits the set and chats to actor William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, about the time she played his character’s girlfriend. Joanna boards a train to travel north to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Lake District and takes the Windermere ferry to visit the former home of Beatrix Potter.
Joanna is taken back in time as she reminisces about loving the author’s work as a child: “So much of my life was centred around Beatrix Potter as a child because even though we were in the Far East, her books were familiar companions wherever we went. My sister and I read them and knew all the characters by name.” Joanna also visits Bradford, where she meets up with a group of Muslim women who have set up an allotment to combat loneliness in their community, before going into the Yorkshire Dales in search of a hidden waterfall. Back on the road, Joanna visits Lumley Castle in Country Durham, the place from which she takes her family name.
Finally, Joanna ends the episode in Whitby where she visits Whitby Abbey, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, before heading to a gothic shop to buy a black wig and coat…
Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home begins Tuesday 2nd February at 8pm on ITV.