Michael Buerk goes behind the scenes at five National Trust locations and meets some of the dedicated army who look after Britain's heritage. And he rolls up his sleeves too roped in as a Georgian manservant, guinea pig for 1770s style make-up, painstakingly cleaning a priceless chandelier, learning the ancient craft of hedgelaying, photo-stalking deer, risking the wrath of puffins as he sticks his hand down burrows for a crucial count, helping to lamb a ewe or lining up for the National Scything Championships. You'll see the doughty war reporter and journalist in a very different guise. Each episode is packed with surprises and secrets and reveals just what it takes to ensure the survival of Britain's magnificent heritage. And we meet the unsung heroes behind the scenes who go to extraordinary lengths to safeguard it on our behalf. Featured in this 20 part series for ITV are:
Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire - the home of Elsie Bambridge, daughter of author Rudyard Kipling. A Palladian jewel, it's also home to the Trust's Home Farm packed with rare farm breeds lovingly tended by stockman Mark Field and his posse of volunteers. Wordsworth House - childhood home of poet William Wordsworth in Cockermouth. The staff here dress as Georgian servants and everything is done the Georgian way from what s grown in the garden to life downstairs. The Lake District - vast tracts of some of the most beautiful landscape in Britain, all of it tended by rangers and volunteers working in all weathers, rescuing stranded tourists and painstakingly protecting the mountains and valleys. The Farne Islands - Dave Steel and his volunteers head to the remote islands off the Northumbrian coast to safeguard one of the UK's most important bird and seal sanctuaries. But life is tough no running water, no electricity in a damp pele tower and the risk of being cut off for weeks by tempestuous seas. Sizergh Castle - a medieval castle standing as the gateway to the Lake District. It's been the home of the Strickland family since the 13th century and 85 year old Mrs. Strickland is in residence. Son and heir, Henry shares family secrets and historical treasures never seen before. Cragside - a fantastical Victorian mansion built for Lord Armstrong, a Geordie-boy-made good, it was the first Victorian home to have central heating and the first to be powered by hydro-electricity. It's perched amongst a thousand acres of man-made grounds blasted out of the Northumbrian landscape.