QUIRKY delights in Dorset played a large part in the latest offering from the county on the small screen.

The fourth episode in the Channel 5 primetime series Dorset: Country & Coast featured Dorchester and the historical Old Tea House in High West Street.

The town’s fascinating tunnel system was shown to viewers, with the Old Tea House’s Debbie showing us part of the tunnel below the tea room, which was used as a holding cell before the accused went in front of ‘the hanging judge’ Judge Jeffreys.

Town crier and Dorchester Mayor Alistair Chisholm also made an appearance, sampling the Old Tea House’s raspberry and white chocolate scones.

Hardy’s birthplace and its bucolic Higher Bockhampton setting was the next stop for the programme, with Dr Tracy Hayes, originally from Australia and now a Thomas Hardy academic, telling us she is now living in ‘her spiritual home’.

Portland’s Old Higher Lighthouse was the next port of call. Here, we met Fran Lockyer, who bought the dilapidated lighthouse in 181 because she ‘felt sorry for it’ and transformed it as a labour of love over 40 years.

Dorset: Country & Coast next went to the north of the county to Sherborne Castle. Here, the grounds of the former home of Sir Walter Raleigh were hosting a country fair and rare breeds show.

We saw youngsters preparing to compete in the young sheep handlers’ contest at the show. Cue some adorable scenes as Grace of Wareham and Elliott and Percy of Charmouth got to grips with some wayward long wool sheep.

Wildlife on Brownsea Island also featured, with some tense scenes in the scramble to find a replacement leader for a reptile ramble on the island after the original leader fell ill.

Guests were invited to the island for a 60th anniversary open day for a host of activities including pond dipping.

Further east in the county, stunning ceramics were filmed at Poole Pottery, where material is ‘taken out of the ground and turned into something that is appreciated’.

Next time Dorset: Country & Coast will head to the picturesque Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, famous for the Hovis advert, where game participants will be taking part in a cheese race. A motorised yacht will also feature, along with a search for elusive seahorses.

  • Catch up with episode 4 on Channel 5 streaming service My 5 or see the repeat on Channel 5 on Sunday (20) at 6.05pm. Episode 5 will be shown on Channel 5 on Wednesday, August 23 at 8pm.