Griff Is the Champion of the Derelict; Television COMEDIAN Griff Rhys Jones Is Getting Serious about Bricks and Mortar in Warwickshire. TV Writer MARION McMULLEN Finds out Why He's Putting the Jokes on Hold for the New Series of Restoration Which Hopes to Help Bring New Life to a Slice of the Region's Forgotten History

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Byline: MARION McMULLEN

FUNNYMAN Griff Rhys Jones has been battling his way through cobwebs and decades of dust to uncover some of the countryside's forgotten architectural treasures.

He and ruin detectives Ptolemy Dean and Marianne Suhr have been getting dirty delving into the past for new BBC2 series Restoration and have been searching for building gems all over the country.

Now their hunt has brought them to Warwickshire and Chedham's Yard in Wellesbourne is among 21 rural buildings featured in the new series which all need help to bring them back to their former glory.

Griff, who first found TV fame in Not the Nine O'Clock News and then with Mel Smith in Alas Smith and Jones, is passionate about handing out some TLC to some of the country's lost treasures.

But he says people need to take care that bulldozers and sheer neglect don't destroy historical landmarks forever.

He says: "I am sure we all have a private view of England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and I bet it probably involves a village and a deserted road with a cottage in the foreground and green fields swelling in the rear.

"I'm sure we've all seen just such a village and, somehow, feel that such places correspond with our feelings of security and warmth and our sense of place, hearth and home. And so it should.

"But the truth is that the countryside everywhere is facing change and disruption over the next 100 years. It is going to be a challenge to all of us to manage that change."

Restoration begins later this month and the programme has been searching out neglected barns, chapels, farmhouses, inns, workshops to save.

Chedham's Yard in Wellesbourne fits all the criteria. It dates back to the early 19th century and includes a blacksmith's forge, a wheelwright's workshop and a drying shed.

It's is a unique time capsule of a bygone way of life and everything is just the way it was when Bill Chedham, the seventh generation to own the site, downed tools in the 1970s after finishing his last working day.

He left behind all the accumulated contents, which have since been catalogued by Oxford Archaeology, including lathes, treadle-operated grindstones and hand-powered bellows. …