Review: Lucy Worsley – Mozart’s London Odyssey

It seemed a rather long time since the poor Review section of this blog had had any new content, and it was perilously at risk of feeling overlooked and neglected. Then, quite by chance, a new documentary from the spirited Lucy Worsley appeared on BBC4. Mozart’s London Odyssey follows a neat and circular narrative, beginning …

Advertisements

Review: Queen Victoria’s Children

First shown in January 2013, this three-part documentary series has recently been repeated and is currently available on BBC iPlayer at the time of writing. This post reviews first episode, The Best Laid Plans..., which explored the relationship between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and how this in turn impacted upon their relationship with their …

Review: Majesty and Mortar, Britain’s Royal Palaces

First shown in June 2014, this three-part documentary is now being repeated on BBC4. The first episode, Towards an Architecture of Majesty, is available on iPlayer at the time of writing and provides a wide-ranging introduction to the history of Britain’s royal palaces.  While the claim that ‘no buildings in history have more dramatic history …

Review: A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley

In this new three-part documentary series showing on BBC4 (and iPlayer), Lucy Worsley explores three centuries of romance, arguing that the way this is experienced can be traced back through specific historical events. The first programme begins in the Georgian era and charts the rise of the romance novel, which Worsley argues changed the way …

Review: Ian Hislop’s Age of the Do-Gooders

For fans of Have I Got News For You, this documentary has Ian Hislop, first in a top hat and then on the streets of central London with a loudspeaker. So basically, it has everything you could want from a television show. On a more serious note, this documentary is comprised of a series of …

Review: Nelson’s Caribbean Hell-Hole, an Eighteenth Century Graveyard Uncovered

Nelson arrived in Antigua in 1784 and later described English Harbour as ‘an infernal hole’. He was miserable during his time there. His complaints, however, were largely related to his boredom, restlessness and hopeless love for a woman who was already married to another man. His men most likely hated their time here as well, …

Review: The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England From 1811 to 1901

In this deceptively thin volume Kristine Hughes has created a work full of the intimate and sometimes overlooked details of everyday life in these periods. Structured around three key focus points – everyday life, government, war and the economy and society – Hughes has used The Writer’s Guide to delve into the streets, homes and …

Review: Wellington, The Iron Duke Unmasked

Drama and documentary are seamlessly blended together in this BBC2 biography of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. The use of actors to bring to life the letters and diaries of the Duke and those who knew him, as well as a varied mix of commentary and narration, provides a rich history of one of the …

Review: Armada, 12 Days to Save England

Dan Snow’s latest documentary on the defeat of the Spanish Armada had something of the air of Hollywood about it. A clever mix of acting, action, narration, commentary and CGI brought this tense moment of history to life. Indeed, its greatest success on that score was achieved by underlining just how much hung in the …

Review: Tales From The Royal Wardrobe

Following on from her documentary last year, Tales from the Royal Bedchamber, Dr. Lucy Worsley this time explores the significance of the royal wardrobe. As ever, she makes her history playful and fun, prancing about replicas of various royal get-ups down the ages and describing Cromwell as a bit ‘rufty tufty’. Firstly, I have to …