TV Highlights

The Secret History of Our Streets

BBC Two - 9pm

Who's in it?

Steven Mackintosh, recently seen in Kick-Ass 2, provided the voice-over for this rather more serene and relaxing project: an exploration of Edinburgh's up-market streets.

In a nutshell

Edinburgh's long been known as one of the prettiest cities in the UK. Wandering the heart of it is like being in some vast and sprawling open air museum, with eye-candy architecture wherever your eyes alight. But it's not the sort of design work that really inspires any inquisitive thinking. It's too stately and soothing for that. When you look at five-storey Georgian houses, grandly arrayed down the curving street, your mind sort of quietly swoons – but you don't really stop to think how it happened, and who came up with it.

That's the good thing about this series – it answers questions it wouldn't even occur to anyone of us to ask. True, it's not exactly a thrill-a-minute, but it's gently fascinating. Last night we explored the history of Edinburgh's Moray Feu, a high-end estate that was once home to waistcoated poshos, fussing nannies and impeccable butlers. After these Downton-like beginnings came the post-war era, when the grand homes were used as nursing homes and hospitals, but today it's as exclusive as it ever was. And taking a tour of its genteel lanes was really rather agreeable.

What's the verdict?

A good, solid, old fashioned, proudly uncool documentary, this. Also, it's such a Sunday sort of show, you'll briefly forget it's actually Friday as you watch it. And then you'll remember it IS Friday, and you'll be glad all over again. Which is nice.

3/5

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07-07-2011