A House Somewhere

Most of us have dreamed of owning a house 'somewhere else', where life will be different and we can enjoy a new start - and for the past two decades, the retelling of this myth has been a reliable source of publishing millions.

Author and Sunday Times critic Anthony Sattin enters the homes and lives of people who have turned their move abroad into reality and then written about it,

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Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
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01A Decade In Provence2003122720040831

Most of us have dreamed of owning a house 'somewhere else', where life will be different and we can enjoy a new start - and for the past two decades, the retelling of this myth has been a reliable source of publishing millions.

Author and Sunday Times critic Anthony Sattin enters the homes and lives of people who have turned their move abroad into reality and then written about it,Anthony meets Peter 'Year In Provence' Mayle, who discovered paradise in rural France back in the late 1980's.

Anthony spends time visiting Mayle's old haunts and talking to locals, builders, expats, critics - even the mayor - to reassess this literary legend.

02An 'ooligan In Verona2004010320040901

Having moved to Verona to teach English and live with his new Italian wife, Tim Parks was approached by the same editor who commissioned A Year In Provence, who wondered if he could possibly be the new Peter Mayle.

Tim duly sent off the first few chapters of Italian Neighbours, only to receive a rejection letter.

The editor explained that Tim's life in the scruffy suburbs in a modern rented flat wouldn't have the same appeal as Mayle's stone farmhouse surrounded by vineyards.

But he was mistaken.

Italian Neighbours was a steaming success and shortly followed by An Italian Education and A Year With Verona, Tim's life on the road with Italian football hooligans.

Anthony Sattin goes behind the scenes to see if, after almost twenty years writing about Italy has made Tim an Italian.

03Ever The Optimist2004011020040902

When sheep farmer Chris Stewart wrote Driving Over Lemon, his expectations were understandably low, given that his three previous ventures - playing drums for Genesis, running a Sussex sheep farm and writing guide books to China - had left him destitute, scratching a living in a cheap farm on a poor, rocky Spanish hillside.

But the book has been a world wide hit.

Villagers in nearby Orgiva are even thinking of erecting a statue to him.

But his wife Ana is tired of coping with the farm on her own while Chris is off on extended book tours.

Is Chris still the optimist he started out as? Anthony Sattin goes looking for him in the sheep pen.