DORSET featured on small screens across the country as a new TV show explored the county's hidden spots and iconic sites.

Dorset: Country and Coast, a six-part series on Channel 5, started last night (Wednesday, July 26).

Narrated by Alan Titchmarsh, it showed the county's beautiful rolling countryside, charming seaside towns and the world-renowned Jurassic Coast.

On last night's first episode, viewers learnt about fossil hunting at Lyme Regis and the planning that went into this year's Fossil Festival.

The show joined curators from Lyme Regis Museum as they hosted fossil walks along the coast to discover 200-million-year-old treasures and explained their love for the west Dorset seaside town.

Later on, the programme got a sneak peek of the planning that went into the 2023 Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, which took place in April after being saved from cancellation.

Crowds were seen enjoying the spring Dorset sunshine as one youngster and keen fossil enthusiast exclaimed Lyme Regis was her 'favourite place on the planet'. 

Also on last night's episode, the Grade II-listed Mapperton House near Beaminster was also featured.

The family home and estate nestled in the west Dorset countryside is a historical landmark building, and viewers were shown its vast array of gardens and land which it is giving back to nature as they hear from the Viscountess of Sandwich, Caroline Montague.

Owned by the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, the show learnt more about the plants and animals roaming the grounds, and caught up with rangers tasked with introducing beavers and Exmoor ponies to Mapperton.

Renowned Dorset chef and restaurateur Mark Hix also featured on the first episode of the series as viewers joined him on a fishing trip near Poole as he rustled up some raw mackerel for his crew onboard.

The east of the county was also featured last night to visit the sought-after beach huts of Mudeford, transformed from the basic fishing sheds from 100 years ago into luxurious holiday homes.

Meanwhile, father and son thatchers Nick and Mike Farwell from Wimborne showed off their thatching skills as viewers heard more about the ancient tradition which is common in Dorset.

Next week's episode will feature the sand and sea at Weymouth as well as the Fleet Lagoon and Chesil Beach - plus Sherborne's oldest working bakery.

Tune in from 8pm on Wednesday, August 2 on Channel 5.