Review: Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan

August 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Kevin McCloud and the Big Town PlanKevin McCloud, of Grand Designs fame, steps up to present this really quite wonderful show. The ex mining town of Castleford in Yorkshire is a dying town. Once thriving, when the local mines closed down the town lost the heart of its industry, and with it went jobs and prosperity.

Channel 4 put up £100,000 to get the ball rolling on an urban renewal project that would reinvigorate the public spaces in the town and by doing so help draw in new business and industry. As one of the residents says “we’ve got to do something to make it a thriving village, not a dying one?. It’s a pretty big ask.

It’s an interesting project, not only because Channel 4 is actively and financially encouraging the urban renewal of the town, but also because the various projects are being championed and shaped by the local people themselves.

This first episode follows the building of a new bridge across the river, the old one being a bit of a broken down death trap where cars and pedestrians battle it out. McCloud follows across an almost wearying five years as a new pedestrian bridge is attempted.

A very enjoyable, at times quite moving, show. Well worth watching.