Michael Portillo launches new series of ‘Great Coastal Railway Journeys’

Portillo’s series, ‘Great Coastal Railway Journeys’ is set to return for a third series.

Michael Portillo love life
© Ken Jack / Gettyimages
Michael Portillo love life

There is something lovely about being on a train, and watching the view from the window shift until you come to a slow halt at your destination. BBC Two and Naked West (a Fremantle label) clearly agree, as they have made a series about the UK’s great coastal railways. Michael Portillo hosts the show, which is coming back for a third season.

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Portillo’s third season of ‘Great Coastal Railway Journeys’

In the third season of his show, Portillo is set to travel around the best bits of Britain’s coastal areas - and he even ventures a little further afield with a trip on the Eurostar to France. The whole point is to enjoy the history, culture and landscapes found by the sea and give viewers at home a taste of these different locations. All of the places visited are accessible by train.

Speaking about his return, Portillo said:

I am delighted to present a third series of Great Coastal Railway Journeys. I hugely enjoyed meeting inspiring people and hearing the history and legends of our coastline.

Alex McLeod, Commissioning Editor for BBC Daytime, praised Portillo’s work on the series:

Michael is a wonderfully knowledgeable and trusted guide as he showcases beautifully scenic travel routes in the UK and beyond, which audiences can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes.

Portillo has had a varied career and, indeed, a very interesting life. Now a presenter, the 70-year-old was once a history student at Cambridge University and later, defence secretary within the Conservative Party. However, it is his private life that has really grabbed the media’s attention.

Although Portillo has been married to his wife Carolyn Eadie for over 40 years, he has been at the centre of many a scandalous rumour.

Michael Portillo’s ‘homosexual experiences’

The presenter tends to keep his private life private, but a few stories about his love life have surfaced over the years. During an interview in 1999, Portillo said he had had some ‘homosexual experiences’ when he was younger. This came amid speculation over his sexuality and he has since explained:

​​I was keen to put to rest the rumours that had been circulating about me and I cannot really believe that what happened a generation ago could be big news. I do not think it was a particularly big burden and I do not have any regrets. The truth is a good thing.

Portillo insists that ‘nothing of this sort whatsoever’ happened after he married his wife in 1982. However, one man has accused the presenter of being ‘somewhat economical with the actualité’. Nigel Hart claims to have had an eight-year affair with Portillo in the 70’s, and has criticised the TV personality’s ‘cowardly and misleadingly meagre version of what actually happened’.

Rumoured with an agoraphobic woman

There was also a big scandal in 2005, when Portillo was defence secretary. He was snapped with a woman named Rachel Johnston at the Ramada Hotel Breakfast, sneaking into each other’s rooms.

It came to light that Rachel, who was agoraphobic, had written to the then-politician as a student. She admitted that she ‘fancied’ him, and her illness meant she was looking for something to do:

It's true that in the early 1990s I did have a correspondence with Michael. I was cooped up indoors, unable to go outside, and I'd started to do an A level in English literature to pass the time. Being honest about it, I fancied Michael and I wrote to him saying that as part of my studies I had to do a profile of a public figure.

The pair exchanged letters, and had this fateful meeting at a hotel. While Portillo insists they never slept together, Rachel said they did - just once.

So, it would seem Portillo is not as conservative in his private life as he is in his political convictions; if these rumours are to be believed. However, these scandals have not prevented the presenter from carving out a very successful career for himself, and he is still happily married to Carolyn after 42 years together.

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Sources used:

Mirror: Michael Portillo's love life from 'affair' with agoraphobic fan to 'hypocritical' relationship

BBC: Great Coastal Railway Journeys returns to BBC iPlayer and BBC Two for a third series

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