TV Highlights

The Village That's Falling Into the Sea

BBC One - 7.30pm

Who's in it?

The brave residents of the most stricken community in Britain let us into their lives last night – and it was both disturbing and inspiring in equal measure.

In a nutshell

The idea of a sleepy seaside village literally falling off the edge of the coast sounds almost farcical – like some absurdist Monty Python sketch. But it was far from a laughing matter in December last year, when sea storms and tidal surges devastated the east coast. One of the hardest hit was Hemsby, where the cliff was consumed by the raging water, and whole houses toppled into the abyss. This programme caught up with the locals six months later, to discover how they've dealt with Mother Nature's nightmare.

The biggest, most startling revelation was that the coast was falling apart anyway. In fact, almost 70 properties have been lost thanks to erosion over the past couple of decades. The tidal storm of 2013 was merely the most cataclysmic example of the problems they face. In the face of indifference from the powers-that-be in London, the locals have been literally building their own defences for their own preservation. Remarkably, it hasn't put people off buying homes there – the documentary caught up with a few people who were going to snap up properties on the slipping, shifting dunes.

What's the verdict?

A story this strange should really be front page news, and it's a sign of how city-centric the papers are that most of us probably had no idea about Hemsby's predicament. Is it just a matter of time before this proud community literally slips through our fingers?

4/5

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07-07-2011