Portillo on right track to enjoy visit to Market Rasen

Michael Portillo at Market Rasen
Michael Portillo at Market Rasen

TELEVISION presenter Michael Portillo has been on a ‘great’ journey - and it has taken him to Market Rasen of course.

The former MP stopped off in the town last week while filming series four of Great British Railway Journeys.

The programmes see Mr Portillo travel the length and breadth of the country using Victorian cartographer George Bradshaw’s descriptive railway handbook as a guide.

Market Rasen features in Section IV of the Bradshaw guide.

The town is listed as having a population of 2,468 and the recommended hotel is The White Hart.

The very brief description tells the reader there is an old hospital in the town and a ‘curious, embattled towered church, whose vicar takes tithe of ale.’

“The tithe is no longer received,” said the Rev Michael Cartwright, vicar of Market Rasen, who was interviewed by Mr Portillo at St Thomas’s.

“We had an interesting talk and then he took me over to The Advocate Arms to treat me to half a pint – so I did get my ale on this occasion.

“He is a very pleasant man and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together.”

Mr Portillo was impressed with the church and indeed with the town as a whole and he thought the town’s railway station was “delightful.”

“There are not many stations with a welcome sign – it is good to see,” he said.

Before reaching Market Rasen, Mr Portillo stopped in Lincoln for a visit to the cathedral.

Although no stranger to the city, having been there only the week before filming an historical programme, he said he was “overwhelmed” by the cathedral.

Great Train Journeys series four will be aired some time in January 2013.