Alan Titchmarsh looks into the life of ‘Bess of Hardwick’ Elizabeth Talbot for Channel 5

One to Watch: Secrets of the National Trust – Hardwick Hall.

Former Pebble Mill chat show personality Alan Titchmarsh and a host of familiar faces are back with a new series of the show that takes a rare view of some of Britain’s most intriguing historical homes.

In the first episode of this new run of episodes, Alan visits Hardwick Hall, a magnificent 16th Century mansion sitting on top of a hillside in Derbyshire. With its awesome frontage, the Bet Lynch of historic structures if you like, viewers will be amazed by its turrets. Channel 5 describes the building as a ‘wonder of its time’.

Other TV Highlights for Tuesday, February 27th in Telly Today

In this second series, the history of the locations continues to play an important part of the format and we’ll be told all about the past facts of interest, which includes for Hardwick Hall being once the home of Elizabeth Talbot, the Countess of Shrewsbury – often referred to as Bess of Hardwick.

From humble beginnings, Elizabeth amassed a great wealth, land and a title courtesy of her four marriages. She later rose to become the second most powerful woman in Tudor England, after Queen Elizabeth I. While wandering through Hardwick Hall Alan charts Bess’ rise through society of the time and discovers how she became one of the inner circle of friends to Queen Elizabeth I.

Also tonight Miriam O’Reilly visits nearby Stainsby Mill, another establishment part of the National Trust property portfolio. The mill once produced the flour and bread for the residents, guests and staff of the Hardwick estate. Also in the Peak District Jenni Bond travels to Ecton Mines, a rich source of copper, which was bought by Elizabeth Talbot’s descendants to add to the family wealth and Peter Purves visits Oxburgh Hall, a moated manor house in Norfolk which boasts needlework by Mary Queen of Scots.

Secrets of the National Trust, Channel 5, 9pm tonight (Feb 27th)

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