by David Butcher

Visual, nostalgic and full of quirky – geeky, even – historical details: stamp collecting is a gift of a subject for BBC4. Sure enough, Andrew Martin’s canter through the history of stamps is a pleasure, whether or not you’ve ever queued up for First Day Covers or separated your definitives from your commemoratives.

I never knew that, before the Penny Black, the postal service delivered letters but charged the recipient, not the sender: it cost a Londoner the equivalent of £5 to get a letter from Scotland, so it had better be worth it. Elsewhere there are lovely diversions on the Blue Mauritius, the One-cent Magenta and Tony Benn’s attempt to remove the Queen’s head.


Andrew Martin charts the evolution of British postage stamps and looks at how they became a national obsession, examining iconic examples and famous collectors, as well as meeting modern-day philatelists at a club.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Andrew Martin

Director Matthew Thomas

Series Producer William Naylor


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