Escape to the Country

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Escape to the Country
Escape to the Country (title card).jpg
Created byJason Wilton
Presented bySee below
Music byJohn Wygens
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series23
No. of episodes1200
Executive producersJohn Comerford, Emma Smith
(Series Editor)
ProducersTitus Ogilvy
(Series producer)
Running time45–60 minutes
Production companiesThames (2002–06)
Talkback Thames (2006–12)
Boundless Productions[1]
Naked West (since 2021)[2]
Original networkBBC One
Picture formatPAL (HD)
Original release14 October 2002 (2002-10-14) –
  • I Escaped to the Country
  • Escape to the Continent
  • Escape to the Perfect Town
  • Escape from the City (Australia)
  • Greatest Escapes to the Country

Escape to the Country is a British daytime television property-buying/real estate programme that has been on the air since October 14, 2002. The show was originally produced by Talkback Thames and first aired on BBC One, with repeats on BBC Two. It has gained international syndication. Production later moved to Naked West, a division of Fremantle Media. The programme is commonly referred to as "Escape" among viewers.

The show consistently ranks as the top-rated program in its daytime time slot on BBC One and has a significant global social media presence.[citation needed]


The format of the show revolves around potential home buyers searching for their dream homes in rural UK areas. The buyers view three or four properties for sale, including a "mystery house," in their chosen county or region. The houses they visit can include rentals, new-builds, kit-homes, market town addresses, renovation projects, or even plots of land with potential for building.

After inspecting each house, the presenter asks the buyers to guess the asking price before revealing it. Episodes also feature countryside imagery, information about the counties, towns, and villages, and interviews with local residents of various ages and backgrounds to gather their opinions about the area. At the end of each episode, the buyers are asked to choose their favourite property and discuss their plans for potentially purchasing it. Updates on their progress may be provided in subsequent episodes.

In 2021, the show underwent significant changes to reflect modern-day countryside living and address contemporary rural issues. Series Editor Emma Smith and Series Producer Titus Ogilvy spearheaded these changes, which included interstitial segments highlighting rural culture, the environment, sustainability, and the impact of climate change on the countryside. Many episodes now feature "mini escapes," where viewers submit self-filmed footage telling the story of their own escape to the country.

There are two versions of each episode produced - a shorter 45-minute version with only 3 houses shown and a longer 60-minute version. The short version usually airs on BBC One weekday afternoons (usually in the 15:00 slot) and the longer on BBC One weekdays at 10:00 or BBC Two evenings at 19:00. Repeat episodes are shown on HGTV.


Series 1 to 5[edit]

Produced by Talkback UK, and aired from 2002, the premise of the show is that a person/family wishes to relocate from their current city home to a more peaceful and rural retreat. It is then the job of the show's presenter to find four houses for the family to view via laptop computer in their own homes. The family must then choose two out of the four houses to go and view for themselves. In addition, there is also the option of choosing the presenter's 'mystery house'.

Series 3 included a Catherine Gee episode starring actor/writer Ian Murphy, who was relocating from Nottingham to Lancaster.[3]

Series 6 to 9[edit]

The format of the show changed in series 6 to accommodate viewer demand to see more houses and more local information[citation needed]. Contributors now view all four houses, of which the fourth is the mystery house. The mystery house usually has something unique about it that will either make the contributors fall in love with or hate it. Added to the show is a taster day in which the contributors sample local delights, gain historical knowledge and visit local attractions to get a feel for the area they are planning to move to. Series 6 aired in August 2007 on BBC One, while series 7 and 8 aired back-to-back in autumn 2008. Series 9 began on 23 February in a new slot of 15:45 on BBC Two. [4]

Series 10 to 12[edit]

The format was modified again: the number of properties the couples viewed was reduced to three, with the third being the mystery house. Series 12 consisted of 75 shows and was broadcast from November 2011 on BBC Two with new title and credit sequences.

Series 13 to 20[edit]

Series 13 premiered on 3 September 2012 on BBC One, followed by a further series each year; Series 20 began in late 2019.

In 2019, Series 19 was being broadcast and BBC One was re-running episodes of Series 18 on a daily basis.[5][6] Presenters for these series included Sonali Shah, Jonnie Irwin, Ginny Buckley, Jules Hudson, Alistair Appleton, Margherita Taylor, and Nicki Chapman.[7] For Series 19 the following credits were provided:[8][9]

  • Series Producers: Eleanor Brocklehurst and Emma Smith
  • Executive Producer: John Comerford
  • Production company: FremantleMedia (Boundless Productions)[10][11]

Series 21 to 23[edit]

Series 21 premiered on 7 September 2020 on BBC One. Briony May Williams and Chris Bavin joined the presenting team.

Series 22 premiered on 27 September 2021 on BBC One. After a 7-year hiatus, Denise Nurse returned to the presenting team.

Series 23 premiered on 22 August 2022 on BBC One.

For all three series the following credits were provided:

  • Series Producer: Titus Ogilvy
  • Series Editor: Emma Smith
  • Executive Producer: John Comerford
  • Production Company: Fremantle (Naked West)


Nicki Chapman, one of the hosts of Escape to the Country

Over the years, presenters have included:[12]

Spin-off and related shows[edit]

A subsequent programme, I Escaped to the Country, revisits potential buyers who had appeared on the primary series. By 2022, seven series of this programme had been shown.[15]

A related series featuring the same concept and some of the same presenters, but filmed in other countries, Escape to the Continent was made for the BBC by Boundless Productions;[16][17] two series were filmed.[18]

From 2019 the BBC showed a spinoff series, Escape To the Perfect Town, about towns and cities instead of rural villages.[19]

A further related series, Greatest Escapes to the Country, looking back at homes featured in the primary series was broadcast on BBC Two in 2020.[20]

Australian version[edit]

Escape from the City is an Australian version of the show produced by Fremantle Media Australia and screening on the ABC from 3 January 2019.[21] It is presented by: Jane Hall, Simon Marnie, Bryce Holdaway, Del Irani and Dean Ipaviz.

International broadcasts[edit]

In Australia, Escape to the Country airs on Seven Network's free-to-air digital channel 7TWO, and the Lifestyle Channel on Foxtel Subscription TV.

In Canada, it is seen on CTV Life Channel as well as CBC.[22][23] In Sweden, it airs on TV8.

In the Netherlands, Escape to the Country has been broadcast since April 2011 on SBS 6, and is available on BBC channels distributed by cable operators. It is mentioned in the novel The Detour by Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker.[24]

In the United States, it was available on the Netflix online streaming service in 2017, but was since discontinued. As of March 2020 a limited number of episodes were available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, in conjunction with IMDbTV. On Dabl, two episodes are broadcast weekday afternoons and rerun the same evening.

DVD releases[edit]

On 5 March 2014, two DVDs were released in Australia by Shock Entertainment. Titled Series 20 Parts 1 & 2, the two DVDs box sets had a total of 19 discs.[25][26]


  1. ^ "BBC One - Boundless Productions".
  2. ^ "Fremantle U.K. Merges Labels to Create Naked Television, Led by Fatima Salaria". 9 September 2020.
  3. ^ BBC Episode Guide, Season 3 Episode 22
  4. ^ "BBC One - Escape to the Country, Series 22, Derbyshire".
  5. ^ Series 19 Episodes BBC One October 2018
  6. ^ Series 18 Episodes BBC One October 2018
  7. ^ "BBC One - Escape to the Country - Available now". BBC.
  8. ^ "BBC One - Escape to the Country, Series 19, Devon". BBC.
  9. ^ Escape to the Country Series 19
  10. ^ "Boundless".
  11. ^ "BBC Shows and Tours - Take Part - Escape to the Country". BBC.
  12. ^ "Escape to the Country". 1 January 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  13. ^ "Escape to the Country". The Radio Times (4101): 93. 10 October 2002 – via BBC Genome.
  14. ^ "Escape to the Country". The Radio Times (4101): 101. 10 October 2002 – via BBC Genome.
  15. ^ "Series 7 Episodes". BBC. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  16. ^ "Escape to the Continent | Boundless".
  17. ^ "BBC One - Escape to the Continent - Episode guide". BBC.
  18. ^ "Escape to the Continent". BBC One. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  19. ^ "Escape to the Perfect Town - Episode guide". BBC. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  20. ^ "BBC Two - Greatest Escapes to the Country". BBC.
  21. ^ "Escape from the City". TV Tonight. 30 December 2018.
  22. ^, Escape to the Country
  23. ^, Esape to the Country
  24. ^ Tonkin, Boyd (24 May 2013). "Gerbrand Bakker interview: Escape to the strangest country with newly crowned winner of The Independent Foreign Fiction". The Independent. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  25. ^ "Escape to the Country Series 20 - Part 1 by Shock - Shop Online for Movies, DVDs in Australia".
  26. ^ "Escape to the Country Series 20 - Part 2 by Shock - Shop Online for Movies, DVDs in Australia".

External links[edit]