Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal, but forgotten, importance.
|01||01||The Battle Of Mers El Kebir||20050516||20060409||When we think of the defence of Britain from Nazi invasion in 1940, we picture duelling Spitfires in the skies of southern England.|
But, as Michael Portillo discovers, the true history of that summer is more complicated.
Churchill's rhetoric and its powerful images made the Battle of Britain unforgettable - but should our understanding of this country's salvation pay more attention to less palatable events thousands of miles away in an Algerian port, where the British Navy killed 1500 of its former ally's seamen in just one day?
|01||02||The Spanish Armada||20050523||20060416||We remember a lot about the Spanish Armada of 1588: Drake and his bowls, Elizabeth I on Tilbury Docks and a glorious naval victory - but are we remembering the right history?|
Michael investigates the real history of the Armada - to find that it was the first of three, that the Spanish did successfully land in England and that the victory of 1588 did little to alleviate the fear and suffering of the next decade and a half of continuous war.
Why then have we forgotten so much?
|01||03||The Space Race||20050530||20060423||As the Space Race of the 1950s and 60s is reduced to neat paragraphs in 20th-century text books, is there a danger that the image of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon has become too dominant?|
Michael Portillo argues the case for the earlier Apollo 8 mission, the first manned Moonshot and the moment at which many now claim the Space Race was won.
Apollo 8 pilot Jim Lovell is among those remembering the risks and the sheer pioneering panache of the mission that saw the first Earth-rise.
|01||04 LAST||The French Revolution||20050606||20060430||Michael visits France, a land defined and shaped by the Revolution of 1789.|
Think of the Revolution and we think of the guillotine, the tumbrils, the rivers of blood and the Paris mob manipulated by Robespierre.
But, could it be that generations of French historians and the political needs of a nation have helped us to forget the most bloody and morally inconvenient saga of the Revolutionary period?
Michael travels deep into rural France to dig up some difficult memories that have nothing at all to do with liberty, equality or fraternity.
|02||01||Jack The Ripper||20061127||20070415||Londoners were certainly afraid in the late 1880s, but not, as we might expect, of a top-hat wearing, knife-wielding psychopath.|
Michael travels from the East to the West End of the city to reveal that the fear that stalked those streets was not down to one man, but to the catastrophic collapse of a whole way of life.
Londoners were certainly afraid in the late 1880s, but not, as we might expect, of a top-hat wearing, knife-wielding psychopath.
|02||02||First World War||20061204||20070422||Close to 100 years after the conflict began, the popular memory of the First World War is of mud, blood and futility.|
We remember the incompetent Generals of Oh! What a Lovely War, the doomed youth of the War Poets, fields of poppies, the stalemate of trench warfare.
But there are less familiar memories of the war, accounts of the liberation of occupied towns, the pride of ordinary soldiers, of military success.
Michael Portillo tells the story of battles fought in the last 100 days of the war and asks how British forces progressed from the slaughter of the Somme to the forgotten victories of 1918.
The popular memory of the First World War is of mud, blood and futility.
But there are less familiar memories of the war, accounts of military success, the liberation of occupied towns and the pride of ordinary soldiers.
Michael tells the story of battles fought in the last 100 days of the war and explores how British forces progressed from the slaughter of the Somme to the forgotten victories of 1918.
|02||03||The 1945 Labour Government||20061211||20070506||Clement Attlee's government is now remembered as the founder of the welfare state.|
At every General Election, we are invited to recall the creation of the NHS and the building of a new Jerusalem.
Just how radical was this agenda and how much of this memory is myth-making by subsequent Labour governments? Michael Portillo remembers the pragmatism, the compromises and the in-fighting of that post-war government.
He meets Denis Healey, Peter Carrington and Tony Benn to uncover the forgotten choices made in a Britain exhausted by one war and on the brink of another.
|02||04 LAST||Magna Carta||20061218||20070429||Nearly 800 years after it was signed, Magna Carta is still venerated as the bedrock of English justice and liberty.|
Yet in truth its impact was a good deal less far-reaching than is popularly believed.
Another document, signed two years after Magna Carta, was the true charter for the common man.
Michael Portillo goes in search of this forgotten manifesto for English rural life.
Yet its impact was a good deal less far-reaching than is popularly believed.
|03||01||On Suffragettes||20071224||Suffragettes are now remembered as the acceptable face of direct action, but parts of the movement's history have been conveniently forgotten, including a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Herbert Asquith in 1909 and a series of arson attacks.|
|03||02||The Darien Gap||20071231||The real reason behind the 1707 Act of Union which saw England and Scotland merged was a disastrous colonial expedition.|
But why did a small settlement in what is now Panama bring a nation to its knees and why it has been reduced to such a tiny footnote in the story?
|03||03||The Bengal Famine||20080107||20081208||One of the worst catastrophes ever to occur under British rule, the Bengal famine of 1943 cost, at the most conservative of British estimates, one and a half million lives.|
Michael challenges our collective amnesia and asks historians from both India and Britain whether it could have been avoided.
|03||04 LAST||The Battle Of Trafalgar||20080114||Nelson's victory of 1805 has lodged itself firmly in the popular imagination, but we have forgotten that the brunt of the defeat was borne not by France but by one of her allies, Spain.|
|04||01||The Jarrow March||20081201||20120911||Michael Portillo with the series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal, but forgotten, importance.|
The Jarrow March.
'Marshal Riley's Army', the 'Jarrow Crusade' has become a symbol of the reaction of British society to the mass unemployment of the 1930s. In the month of October 1936, two hundred out-of-work Jarrow men came south to draw London's attention to their plight. They did not make political demands, but merely asked that something ought to be done to help them. They were polite, respectful, and orderly, and as they passed, all sections of society, rich and poor, came out to greet them. The Jarrow Marchers were treated to a heroes' welcome when they got to London. They showed how much the British cared about the unemployed, so now their place in history is secure.
But, Michael discovers that here had been a variety of "Hunger Marches" going back to the 1920s, the biggest of which was in 1932 organised by the Comunist backed National Unemployed Workers Movement or NUWM, after the level of unemployment was cut, with thousands of men and women marching to London. When the march arrived in Hyde Park on October 27th 1932, 100,000 supporters were greeted by over 3,000 police who launched a series of mounted charges into the crowds, and the arrival ended in chaos. But this event lead to the formation of the movement for civil liberties which resulted in the pressure group Liberty being formed.
So - why do we remember Jarrow? Maybe because it is pleasant to think of the past as an era of social peace, a time when there was a dignity in poverty and working men would ask for, rather than take, social and political recognition
Producer - Neil George
of 1936 has been remembered as a dignified demonstration of the struggle of the unemployed.
However, Michael discovers a much more violent and dangerous march that preceded it in 1932, which ended with bloodshed and rioting in Hyde Park.
|04||03||The League Of Nations||20081215||20120925||Michael Portillo re-examines the reputation of the League of Nations. Born out of the carnage of World War One it has been damned for failing to avoid a second conflict. But is that a fair judgement?|
As an institution set up in the aftermath of a terrible conflict and amidst hopes that such horrors would never be repeated, it seems only right that the League of Nations should be deemed one of history's great failures. But in exploring the origins and works of the League Michael Portillo finds a number of things that have been forgotten in the over-whelming desire to lump the failings of the interwar years on a single identifiable scapegoat.
With the help of a former UN Ambassador and historians who have analysed the finer details of what happened at League meetings and conferences, he establishes a rounder picture of the League, both in its failings and successes. It did, after all resolve a number of border conflicts, very similar to the ones that had sparked the First World War. It also rescued the ailing Austrian economy and brought together the greatest Economists of the world who were given the opportunity to formulate global financial plans that formed the basis of the post Second World War economic system.
Of course, in pushing for the setting up of the United Nations it was expedient to establish clear water between a system that appeared to have failed and a new one which might be able to learn the harsh lessons of the interwar years.
Producer: Tom Alban
Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history which often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.
The successful interventions made by the League of Nations.
|04||04 LAST||Alfred The Great||20081222||20120918||Michael examines the reputation of Alfred the Great.|
He explores the reality of Alfred's reign in Wessex and questions the extent to which he was the great saviour of popular belief.
He also suggests that the most important thing about Alfred's reign may have been the way in which he sponsored the reporting of it in the form of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles.
Michael Portillo presents an edition of The Things We Forgot to Remember which looks at the reputation of King Alfred the Great: bold English hero or Anglo Saxon spin-doctor?
Alfred the Great sits at the root of English history. The man who burnt the cakes, the man who held the line against the marauding Vikings and the man who, more than almost any other monarch in our history, defined the national identity. He was a bulldog before the bulldog had been bred. But Michael Portillo explores the reality of Alfred's reign in Wessex. To what extent was he a great saviour? Have we forgotten to remember that the most important thing about his reign was that he sponsored the reporting of it in the form of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles? Michael travels to Winchester to get try and disentangle the Anglo-Saxon spin.
Producer: Tom Alban
|05||01||Joan Of Arc||20091207||20121002||Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.|
Michael explores the myth and memory of Joan of Arc, and discovers that another French woman deserves just as much, if not more, credit for saving France in its hour of need.
Battered by decades of war, riven by internal divisions and with large swathes of the country occupied by the English, Charles VII's France was on its knees in the 1420s. To its rescue came a young woman, Joan of Arc. Under her inspiration the fortunes of the country were turned round and France appeared saved. Joan's place in history was confirmed as she was burned at the stake at the age of 19.
But Joan's notoriety eclipses the contribution made by another of her contemporaries, who did as at least as much to secure the future of the French nation and its monarchy. She was Yolande D'Aragon, the King's mother-in-law. It was Yolande who used her position to secure the French monarchy by marriage, diplomacy and force. It was she who invited the young Joan to court, who provided her with her armour and who acted as her sponsor as an emblem of hope for the troops. It was also Yolande who ditched Joan as soon as she became a liability and spent the next decades making laws and allegiances to strengthen the French crown.
Michael investigates why her 40 years of service have been forgotten, buried in the mythology that has grown around Joan.
Battered by decades of war, riven by internal divsions and with large swathes of the country occupied by the English, Charles VII's France was on its knees in the 1420s.
To its rescue came a young woman, Joan of Arc.
Under her inspiration the fortunes of the country were turned round and France appeared saved.
Joan's place in history was confirmed as she was burned at the stake at the age of 19.
But Joan's notoriety eclipses the contribution made by another, contemporary Frenchwoman, who did as at least as much to secure the future of the French nation and its monarchy.
She was Yolande D'Aragon, the King's mother-in-law.
It was Yolande who used her position to secure the French monarchy by marriage, diplomacy and force.
It was she who invited the young Joan to court, who provided her with her armour and who acted as her sponsor as an emblem of hope for the troops.
It was also Yolande who ditched Joan as soon as she became a liability and spent the next decades making laws and allegiances to strengthen the French crown.
Michael invetsigates why her 40 years of service have been forgotten, buried in the mythology that has grown around Joan.
The myth and reality of Joan of Arc, and the other Frenchwoman who did more to save France
|05||02||'peace For Our Time'||20091214||Michael examines one of the most notorious events in Britain's 20th century history, Neville Chamberlain's declaration of 'peace for our time' to jubilant crowds on 30th September 1938.|
Michael examines Neville Chamberlain's 1938 declaration of 'peace for our time'.
|05||03||The Hanseatic League||20091221||One of Michael Portillo's earliest political memories is the 1975 vote on whether or not Britain should stay in the Common Market, the early name for what is now the European Union.|
It felt like a uniquely 20th-century subject.
But in this programme, Michael travels to King's Lynn to find out why this town near the Norfolk coast was such an important part of a forgotten Northern European free-trading area that stretched down as far as Cologne in Germany and included most of the Baltic coastline.
The Hanseatic League was centred in the German town of Lubbeck but English wool made it an important part of a system that allowed Hansas, or groups of tradesmen, to establish a network of trading centres running alongside the nation states of the time.
The League had money enough to raise an army, had a substantial fleet and was important for a number of soveriegns, not least Edward IV of England, when they were in need of a loan.
So what were the ambitions of the hugely wealthy tradesmen running the league? And have we forgotten to remember that as well as a story of nation states, European history has long been a story of free trade, ultimately crushed by Queen Elizabeth I in England's case.
She wanted to control the wool export monopoly and the considerable wealth that came from it and so had the English Hanseatic centre, by then in London and known as the Steelyards, closed down.
Michael explores the Hanseatic League, a precursor to modern ideas of European free trade.
|05||04 LAST||The Glorious Revolution||20091228||20121009||of 1688 is remembered for establishing the supremacy of Parliament over the Crown, setting Britain on the path towards constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.|
Yet what's forgotten is that the events of 1688 actually constituted a foreign invasion of England by another European power, the Dutch Republic.
When William of Orange landed at Torbay in Devon on 5 November 1688, with a fleet four times the size of the Armada of the previous century, it was ostensibly at the invitation of seven Whig supporters who were anxious to avoid a Catholic succession to James II's reign.
But William's invasion was central to his plan of war with France, ensuring that England would not add her armed force to that of the French; he was set on becoming king himself and was leading his troops as an occupying force.
The last comparable event was a previous William's invasion in 1066.
Even though bloodshed in England was limited - though far from the entirely 'Bloodless' revolution that has been mythologised - the revolution was only secured in Ireland and Scotland by force and with much loss of life.
Michael investigates the uncomfortable facts of invasion and occupation which lie behind the popular celebration of 1688.
Michael Portillo reconsiders the uncomfortable facts behind The Glorious Revolution.
Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.
The Glorious Revolution of 1688 is remembered for establishing the supremacy of Parliament over the Crown, setting Britain on the path towards constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. Yet what's forgotten is that the events of 1688 actually constituted a foreign invasion of England by another European power, the Dutch Republic.
When William of Orange landed at Torbay in Devon on 5 November 1688, with a fleet four times the size of the Armada of the previous century, it was ostensibly at the invitation of seven Whig supporters who were anxious to avoid a Catholic succession to James II's reign. But William's invasion was central to his plan of war with France, ensuring that England would not add her armed force to that of the French; he was set on becoming king himself and was leading his troops as an occupying force. The last comparable event was a previous William's invasion in 1066.
Even though bloodshed in England was limited - though far from the entirely 'Bloodless' revolution that has been mythologised - the revolution was only secured in Ireland and Scotland by force and with much loss of life. Michael investigates the uncomfortable facts of invasion and occupation which lie behind the popular celebration of 1688.
|06||01||King Harold||20101115||The image of King Harold II, the last of the Saxon Kings, the brave but gallant loser of the battle of Hastings in 1066 is a powerful one.|
It's a birth and death of a nation moment, the last time these islands were successfully invaded.
But Michael Portillo looks again at that image of Harold.
Was he really a noble figure, bravely trying to stave off defeat at the hands of the powerful Norman army while only days before he'd fought off another band of invaders, his brother Tostig amongst them, in the North? In fact both Harold and the Kingdom he ruled for less than a year were neither stable or heroic.
Our last Saxon monarch took the crown by virtue of the power of his family.
The Godwins had been at once a threat and an ally to Edward the Confessor throughout his reign.
But as Michael probes further he finds that Edward's reputation as the pious, good hearted ruler is also open to debate.
Indeed we've not only forgotten that the kingdom was fragile, riven with factional Earldoms and the dangers that come with an uncertain royal lineage but we scarcely hear mention of the one figure, Edgar the Aetheling, who did have a genuine claim to the throne in 1066.
It appears that in the need for a clear image of 1066 and all that, an image worked on not only by the Normans in the 12th century but by the Victorians in the 19th, that we've gone quite a long way down the road of forgetting to remember the 'all that' that makes this such a fascinating moment in our Island history.
Producer: Tom Alban.
|06||02||Jesse Owens And The Nazi Olympics||20101122||20110801||Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal, but forgotten, importance. This week he looks at forgotten aspects of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Did Adolf Hitler really snub Jesse Owens after the American athlete won an unprecedented four gold medals ? What have we forgotten about the efforts made in Britain and the United States to boycott the Games and why weren't those efforts successful ? And what do the Games tell us about the uneasy relationship between sport and politics in the years before the outbreak of war.|
Michael Portillo revisits the Berlin Olympics of 1936.
This week he looks at forgotten aspects of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Did Adolf Hitler really snub Jesse Owens after the American athlete won an unprecedented four gold medals ? What have we forgotten about the efforts made in Britain and the United States to boycott the Games and why weren't those efforts successful ? And what do the Games tell us about the uneasy relationship between sport and politics in the years before the outbreak of war.
|06||03||The Violent Side Of Indian Independence||20101129||The struggle for Indian independence is remembered most for the peaceful protests inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.|
In this week's Things We Forgot To Remember Michael Portillo discovers the seam of violence that ran alongside the peaceful civil disobedience.
In particular he looks at the pivotal role played by India House, a villa in North London that became a base for those plotting against British rule in India.
He also investigates how in the First World War , Germany tried to destabilise the British Empire by exploiting Indian disaffection.
Producer: James Crawford.
Michael Portillo revisits the Indian struggle for independence.
|06||04 LAST||The Great Depression||20101206||Michael Portillo revisits landmark moments in history, asking whether our popular memory of the past conceals forgotten truths.|
In this edition, Michael looks back at the Great Depression and compares the myths and reality of 1930s America.
Producer: Julia Johnson.
Michael Portillo compares the myths and reality of America's Great Depression.
|07||01||The Real Boston Tea Party||20111113||In 1773 a group of American revolutionaries threw tea into Boston Harbour to protest against rising British Taxes.|
The 'Boston Tea Party' has become a founding moment in American History and, ahead of the 2012 presidential elections; a 'Tea Party' is again making the US political weather.
This republican small-government movement with real grass-roots power may hold the keys to the White House and it takes both its name and its slogan - no taxation without representation - directly from 1773.
But the Boston Tea party that we remember is a long way from events as they actually happened.
The murky and ambiguous real story owes more to the vested interests of smugglers than revolutionary patriotism.
No wonder the American founding fathers initially took a dim view of such violence against property.
And the tax on tea was actually going down.
Peeling back the layers of history, Michael examines how the tea party has been re-engineered over time.
He also discovers that events like the Molasses Act and the Boston Massacre were arguably more significant in fermenting rebellion, forging a national identity and ultimately leading to independence.
Both have now been overshadowed by the more romantic idea of the Boston Tea Party.
We have been sold a version of the revolution that is much simpler than at the time.
Out of a total population of 2.5 million, eighty five thousand Americans loyal to the British crown were forced to quit their native land.
Most went to Britain, neither welcomed nor wanted there, some went west and built new lives under assumed names.
Thousands were tarred and feathered or hanged from trees, which later became symbols of the great Revolution.
|07||02||20111120||From feared revolutionary catalysts to unwavering upholders of the law, Michael Portillo discovers the origins of modern-day policing in the forgotten police strikes of 1918-19.|
We remember their role in upholding law and order following the 1926 General Strike.
Ever since, the police have been a thin blue line between the workers and the state.
But British bobbies did not always stand apart from the trade union movement.
Less than a decade earlier, the police went on strike over pay and conditions, with severe consequences.
In Liverpool, warships and tanks accompanied troops on the streets to quell riots and looting.
With Russia's October Revolution fresh in the mind, fears that Britain was on the brink of Bolshevism led to swift action from the Prime Minister, David Lloyd-George, upgrading police pay and removing their right to strike.
The settlement established a model for future Government relations with the police and banished the idea of a police trade union.
Michael Portillo visits the Merseyside Police Archives to learn the harsh fate of the strikers.
He hears from former officers and historians who believe the police strikes are often over-looked as a radical moment in modern British history, laying the foundations for the role of the police in the General Strike and other times of industrial unrest - such as Grunwick, Wapping and the Miners Strike.
Producer: Roger Mahony.
Michael Portillo discovers riots on the streets in forgotten police strikes of 1918-19.
|07||03||20111127||Michael Portillo discovers how romantic memories of the French Resistance created an enduring military legend which overshadowed its more important political role in shaping post war France.|
When we remember the Resistance we think of square-jawed men in leather jackets hiding out in caves and young women in berets bent over secret radios - thanks to film and TV portrayals of those who resisted the German occupation.
However, while acknowledging the bravery and sacrifice of individuals, historians and resisters themselves agree that the Resistance was not an effective military force.
Active resisters numbered only 2% of the French population and until 1943 it was a fractured group of several different movements.
But in 1944 the Resistance, which had become increasingly made up of Communists, drew up a charter of social and political reforms to be implemented after the liberation of France.
General Charles de Gaulle, whose regard for the Resistance was equivocal and who was not a champion of the left was, however, a pragmatist.
Mindful that he needed the support of the Resistance to bolster his case to become Prime Minister - in the face of Allied opposition - he agreed to these far reaching reforms which went on to shape the course of modern day France.
Michael Portillo hears from former resisters including Stephane Hessel who believes modern France has lost sight of the values many people lost their lives for.
Producer: Paula McGinley.
Michael Portillo explores how the legend of the French Resistance blurred its real legacy.
|07||04 LAST||20111204||We remember the defeat of the Spanish Armada as a triumph for the English underdog.|
How Sir Francis Drake fought off a Spanish behemoth with superior seamanship, first rate gunnery and some friendly weather.
But we forget that 'plucky' England sent a fleet of comparable might to invade Spain the very next year.
And unlike its Spanish counterpart, The English successfully landed their troops.
Michael Portillo tells the story of Sir Francis Drake and the English Armada and finds a series of events remembered very differently either side of the Bay of Biscay.
Michael also finds the origins of our own forgetting amidst the scurrilous complexities of an Elizabethan cover up.
Producer James Cook.
Michael Portillo discovers the story of Sir Francis Drake and the English Armada.
|08||01||20120528||The barons who created Magna Carta are 'noble defenders of English liberty'. But they aided a massive French invasion of England to be stopped by unsung hero, William Marshall.|
The Magna Carta could be just another inglorious tale of the rich evading tax, were it not for the little known invasion of England in 1216 which, had it succeeded, would have changed the map of Europe forever. The English would now be French and the Magna Carta would be an obscure, forgotten document, of little interest to anyone.
King John had been the enemy of the barons, the man they forced to seal the Magna Carta. When that didn't stop King John taxing them and taking their lands they sided with the "real" enemy of England, the future king of France, Prince Louis. He decided to invade England, making various promises to the Barons if they joined him.
But things did not go as planned for Louis; King John died from dysentery - brought on by eating too many peaches - and with the taxing King John gone some of the Barons changed sides once again, fighting alongside a grand old Knight William Marshal, England's real, but forgotten hero. The invasion failed at the battle of Lincoln and England was safely back in the hands of the English, under the nine year old King Henry III.
The remaining Barons came over to the young King, The Magna Carta was redrafted - without clause 61 which was unfavourable to the monarchy - and as we now know became one of the most important documents in the Western World. However, the 2nd French invasion, thwarted by Marshall, has long been forgotten and, ironically, the duplicitous Barons are remembered for all the wrong reasons.
|08||02||20120604||Michael Portillo remembers the Morgenthau Plan which aimed to strip post war Germany of its industry and turn it into an agricultural country. It was replaced by the Marshall Plan.|
Many of us remember the Marshall Plan, the US programme to rebuild post war Europe. Far less is known about the Morganthau Plan (also drawn up in Washington a few years earlier) which aimed, amongst other things, to destroy German industry after the country had surrendered. Winston Churchill also signed up to the plan which would turn Germany into an agrarian "pastoral" society, unable to manufacture the machinery of warfare in the future. Michael Portillo examines the Morganthau Plan and discovers it was in fact drafted by a Soviet agent working high up in the US Administration. He considers the implications of this, looks at how far the plan was implemented and asks why we have forgotten to remember it.
Producer Neil McCarthy.
|08||03||20120611||20120611 (R4)||We remember Georgian England with its elegant architecture and regency refinement; the world of Jane Austen novels, the Brighton pavilion, smart red coated soldiers, of wealth and taste. It is a time of harmony, elegance and proportion epitomised by its dominant architectural style, Palladianism, as seen in the city of Bath.|
But we forget that all this was a genuine Georgian façade. The Georgian England that we are so comfortable remembering broiled with political sedition and discontent ruthlessly suppressed through political purges, espionage networks and military might.
The Georgian regime was established in 1714; supporting an imposed Hanoverian monarch (58th in line to the throne) through partisan Whig political power. Highly ideological, it faced and suppressed extensive opposition. Even Jane Austen's Bath, which came to epitomise Georgian elegance, was the site of a mass riot against the Hanoverian regime.
So we have inherited a sense of the inevitability of Georgian England and it has placed its roots firmly in our sense of collective history but we have forgotten its suspect foundations and the vast amount of work that went into the construction of this apparently inevitable turn in British history.
|08||04 LAST||20120618||Through the story of a German night fighter captured in Suffolk, Michael Portillo remembers the crucial electronic war waged between the Axis and the Allies.|
In July 1944 the crew of a Junkers JU88 night fighter, lost and without fuel, emergency landed their plane on an RAF airfield in Suffolk. This gift from the skies provided British Air Intelligence with the latest German radar secrets. Throughout the war a technological see-saw had been underway with each side trying to gain the the advantage in radar detection and evasion equipment. The radar technology in this particular night fighter explained why large numbers of British bombers were being shot down from the rear and the RAF aircraft were quickly modified as a result.
Alongside distinguished historians and veterans of RAF Bomber Command Michael pieces together the story of that fateful night. He also explores how it illuminates the vital - yet lesser known - battle front of electronic warfare.
Producer Neil McCarthy.