Our Man In China - The Diaries

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
A Man In A Hurry20161107

The British made him a baronet, the King of Denmark awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog, the Germans gave him the Prussian Order of the Crown and the Chinese appointed him (among many other honours) an Iron Hatted Duke, but his nickname in Beijing mattered more than any of his titles; they called him, "our Hart". It was a tribute to his unique role in China's history and its relations with the West. Robert Hart lived through the death throes of a dynastic China that had existed for four thousand years, and he helped lay the foundations of the China we know today. He served as Inspector General of Maritime Customs for nearly half a century, transforming it in to an efficient well regulated organisation that helped fuel China's transformation in to a modern trading nation. Along the way he laid the foundations for a national postal service, railway, meteorological and navigation systems. Yet he is the only figure among the "foreign devils" of those days remembered with affection. He used his position to serve Chinese, not just British, interests. Hart knew everyone and saw everything. His diaries are an intimate and frank chronicle of his life during one of the most turbulent periods in China's history. The Robert Hart you find in his journals is also a figure of our age. He was tormented by conscience, and much given to introspection - endlessly debating faith and morals with his friends and himself. As a young man he was incurably sentimental and hopelessly addicted to sex and female affection. The dairies have only been partially translated and only published in academic circles. This is the first time extracts from Sir Robert Hart's diaries have been broadcast. Today Sir Robert arrives in Ningbo and discovers a world of brothels and opium.

A Man In A Hurry20161107

The British made him a baronet, the King of Denmark awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog, the Germans gave him the Prussian Order of the Crown and the Chinese appointed him (among many other honours) an Iron Hatted Duke, but his nickname in Beijing mattered more than any of his titles; they called him, "our Hart". It was a tribute to his unique role in China's history and its relations with the West. Robert Hart lived through the death throes of a dynastic China that had existed for four thousand years, and he helped lay the foundations of the China we know today. He served as Inspector General of Maritime Customs for nearly half a century, transforming it in to an efficient well regulated organisation that helped fuel China's transformation in to a modern trading nation. Along the way he laid the foundations for a national postal service, railway, meteorological and navigation systems. Yet he is the only figure among the "foreign devils" of those days remembered with affection. He used his position to serve Chinese, not just British, interests. Hart knew everyone and saw everything. His diaries are an intimate and frank chronicle of his life during one of the most turbulent periods in China's history. The Robert Hart you find in his journals is also a figure of our age. He was tormented by conscience, and much given to introspection - endlessly debating faith and morals with his friends and himself. As a young man he was incurably sentimental and hopelessly addicted to sex and female affection. The dairies have only been partially translated and only published in academic circles. This is the first time extracts from Sir Robert Hart's diaries have been broadcast. Today Sir Robert arrives in Ningbo and discovers a world of brothels and opium.

A Servant Of The Crown20161108
The Boxer Uprising20161111

Sir Robert organises the defence of Peking against the Boxer rebels and issues some prophetic warnings to the west about the way it has treated China.

The Boxer Uprising20161111

Sir Robert organises the defence of Peking against the Boxer rebels and issues some prophetic warnings to the west about the way it has treated China.

The Heart Of Empire20161110

Sir Robert is called in to help with the fight against the Taiping rebels and decides it is time to get himself a British wife.

The Heart Of Empire20161110

Sir Robert is called in to help with the fight against the Taiping rebels and decides it is time to get himself a British wife.

The Inspector General20161109

Sir Robert is summoned to Peking to be appointed head of the Imperial Chinese Maritime Customs Service and declares his aim to 'do good work for China in every possible direction'.

The Inspector General20161109

Sir Robert is summoned to Peking to be appointed head of the Imperial Chinese Maritime Customs Service and declares his aim to 'do good work for China in every possible direction'.