Advanced Television

UKTV commissions Canal Boat Diaries for Yesterday, UKTV Play

October 3, 2023

UKTV has commissioned a new series of the BBC Four programme, Canal Boat Diaries (10×60′) for factual channel Yesterday and free streaming service, UKTV Play, having licensed the format rights from the BBC.

The new UKTV Original series will continue to be presented by narrowboat enthusiast Robbie Cumming, in a new, longer 60’ slot. The series will be produced by Middlechild. The executive producer at Middlechild is David Sumnall and the series producer is Stuart Woodman, who produced the previous four series for BBC Four. 

In the new series, Cumming explores the urban waterways of the West Midlands through Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick before tackling Birmingham’s maze of canals.

Canal Boat Diaries has been commissioned for UKTV by commissioning editor Kirsty Hanson, with head of factual and factual entertainment Helen Nightingale, and ordered by Gerald Casey, channel director for Yesterday and Hilary Rosen, director of commissioning.

Cumming said: “I can’t wait to get going..  my aim is to see as much of Birmingham’s Canal Navigations as possible before I head south down the Grand Union Canal. Who knows how far I’ll get?  There’s so much to explore and I’m so pleased this new series has ten…! yes ten! one hour episodes so I cover so much more of my journey and show my life onboard the Naughty Lass.”

Casey said: “Yesterday audiences will love jumping on board the Naughty Lass with Robbie and seeing the industrial canals of the Midlands while learning a bit about the joys (and frustrations) of life on the water.”

Hanson said: We are hugely excited to work with Middlechild again, to produce a new series of Canal Boat Diaries for Yesterday.  The longer format of 60 minutes gives us the freedom to visit locations that are off the usual tourist trail and learn more about Robbie Cumming.”

Sumnall added: “We can’t wait to show Yesterday viewers Robbie’s next amazing journey. Following the ebb and flow of his life on the water as he navigates Britain’s beautiful canals and rivers has become essential viewing. Who’d have thought you could get so much drama and excitement at 4 mph!”

Canal Boat Diaries is filming now and will air in 2024 on UKTV’s Yesterday channel and will be available on UKTV Play, joining a slate of original programming including Bangers & Cash, Secrets of the London Underground, Retro Electro Workshop and Classic Car Garage.

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