Skip to main content

Portillo's Hidden History of Britain – Channel 5

Portillo's Hidden History of Britain - Ep1 Cambridge Military Hospital

Michael Portillo is back on the road for a second series and begins with uncovering the secret past of a former military hospital

Travel lover and former politician Michael Portillo is back rooting around more abandoned locations, while delving into their intriguing pasts, from a disused cinema to a long-forgotten submarine.

Tonight’s episode sees Michael visit the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot, Hampshire where, in 1916, a young surgeon named Harold Gillies developed a pioneering skin graft procedure called the tubed pedicle.

The now disused Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot

The now disused Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot

Not only did Gillies’ trailblazing technique rebuild the shattered faces of hundreds of badly injured World War One soldiers, but it paved the way for him to perform the first ever sex-change operation.

Portillo's Hidden HIstory of Britain. Shows Michael holiding a surgical ool

Michael inspects a surgical tool

Fascinating viewing.

TV Times rating: *****