A TELEVISION programme will shine a light on our historic corner of Essex as camera crews paid a special visit to Dedham and Harwich.

Described as TV’s best-dressed travel guide, Michael Portillo visited the area as part of BBC show Great British Railway Journeys.

The documentary series, which airs at 6.30pm tomorrow, sees Mr Portillo travel the length and breadth of the country by train.

Gazette: Portillo also visited Dedham during his tripPortillo also visited Dedham during his trip

Tomorrow’s episode focuses on exploring East Anglia between the First and Second world wars, beginning his journey in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, before a trip to Leiston.

But he then travelled into north east Essex and visited Dedham where he unearthed the story about a nasty brush between two painters.

Here, art experts explain the antipathy between traditional artist Sir Alfred Munnings and the modern art school established in the village by Cedric Morris.

Mr Portillo ends this leg of his journey in Harwich, where he met two siblings who arrived there as part of the Kindertransport, the mission which brought thousands of Jewish children to safety ahead of Nazi occupation and genocide in 1938.

It’s not the first time Mr Portillo has visited the area, having made a trip down to Harwich from Stowmarket for an episode of the show which aired in 2017.

Gazette: The Harwich leg of the trip focused on the town's role in the Kindertransport in 1938The Harwich leg of the trip focused on the town's role in the Kindertransport in 1938

This episode focused on Portillo discovering how the town’s port became a gateway to the continent and was then superseded by a new deep-water port.

He also lent a hand below decks to ensure all was shipshape before one of the vast ferries left for the Hook of Holland.

Dating further back, an episode which was broadcasted in 2012 showed Mr Portillo visiting the town and Dedham, following the 19th century holiday guidebook by George Bradshaw.

The former Conservative Cabinet member stopped off at Manningtree to visit Dedham Vale during the episode.

Later in the programme Mr Portillo took the Mayflower Line to Harwich, which boomed after a railway link to London was built.

Mr Bradshaw described the town in his book as deriving “considerable profit from its shipping trade, fisheries and annual visitors”.

This year’s series was filmed during the pandemic, so Mr Portillo wears a face mask while travelling by train but frees himself when outdoors and at a safe distance from the general public.

As staycations become more popular during the pandemic, it celebrates the history, achievements and landscapes of Britain.