“Singer and song collector Sam Lee traces a map in stories, folklore and song along England’s longest and most famous river, the Thames. Beginning at its underground source in the idyllic Gloucestershire countryside, Sam follows the Thames from a trickling stream to a majestic river carrying a myriad of human and animal lives. He witnesses its changes of mood and meaning as it squeezes through its busy, embanked, central London stretch searching for the soul of the river – the deep stories of its waters and banks. Through folklore, music, ecology and lives lived along 215 miles of water, Sam uncovers the past, present and future influence of the river’s deep cultural roots. Who is fed and who is starved by the Thames now and what does it mean to the people who come under its influence?
With storyteller, Druid and mead maker Chris Park at Thames Head, via author and land rights activist Nick Park on his houseboat in Oxfordshire, Debbie Leach of Thames 21 working to help communities reconnect with and clean up the river in London, retired Thames lighterman Dave Jessop and Sourav Niyogi who explains the river’s significance to many in London’s Hindu community, Sam explores a flow of ideas running from source to sea. Finally, with author Rachel Lichtenstein, he stands on Two Tree Island on the Essex shore of the Thames estuary and gazes out across the Thames’s final incarnation, as a 5 mile wide delta mouth. We are a world away from the pure waters of the river’s beginnings as Sam considers the ambiguous future of the Thames, its communities and the attention owed to it by the people who live along its banks.”
This wonderful programme will give you a taste of the Thames as a holy river that nourishes our population.