Food for thought

The Ascent of Woman
The world’s first known veiling law is revealed to have dated from 1350 BC, two millennia before the advent of Islam.

The Ascent of Woman

Biographer and historian Dr Amanda Foreman explores the history of women since the dawn of civilization, and the pivotal role they have played in the forging of the modern world.

The journey begins with a look at how early civilizations dealt with the status of women, then explores the role of women in Asia under the philosophies of Confucianism and Buddhism. Reaching the Middle Ages, the programme reveals the women who defied the entrenched male intellectual movements and religions of the period. Finally, there’s a look at the role of women in the revolutions that have transformed the modern world, from political uprisings to reproductive rights.

 

Egypt's Lost Queens
Throughout Egypt’s history, women held the title of pharaoh no fewer than 15 times.

Egypt’s Lost Queens

  • 4 Sep 2014
  • 60 mins

Egypt’s Lost Queens

What was it was like to be a woman of power in ancient Egypt? Well, considering that only a hundred years ago British women were still fighting for the right to vote, this ancient civilization puts the modern world to shame.

Professor Joann Fletcher brings to life four of ancient Egypt’s most powerful female rulers, and discovers the remarkable influence wielded by women in the ancient world. Many others played key roles in running the state and shaping every aspect of life. A remarkable revelation, and beautifully told.

 

 

The Real White Queen and Her Rivals
History has sometimes been made by female rivalry as well as female solidarity.

The Real White Queen and Her Rivals

The Wars of the Roses: a time of treason and bloodshed. A pivotal moment in English history. This is the story of the women at the heart of the family feuds that ripped the land’s nobility apart.

The White Queen is Elizabeth Woodville, a beautiful commoner who enchanted a king and became the first truly English woman to sit on the throne. She saw her family murdered, her children endangered and was labelled a witch.

Her rivals were a child bride driven by religious piety and power politics, and the privileged daughter of the most powerful noble in the land.

 

 

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn
History has sometimes been made by female rivalry as well as female solidarity.

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn

  • 23 May 2013
  • 58 mins

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn

In 1536 Anne Boleyn became the first queen in British history to be executed.

She remains one of  the most controversial women in our history. Her downfall was frighteningly swift. Her crimes were treason, adultery and incest.

But who was responsible for her violent end? It remains a hotly debated episode in British history. A gallery of esteemed historians argue their corners in a documentary which the Daily Telegraph said “did a wonderful job, thanks to a brilliantly lively line-up, from typically forthright David Starkey to fascinating, lucid Suzannah Lipscomb”.

 

 

Bloody Queens: Elizabeth and Mary
Anne’s crimes remain shocking to this day.

Bloody Queens: Elizabeth and Mary

  • 1 Feb 2016
  • 59 mins

Bloody Queens: Elizabeth and Mary

The story of the rivalry between cousins Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, in their own words.

Their feud lasted over two decades and threatened to tear apart both Elizabeth and her kingdom. In the end, it would force her to make the hardest decision of her life.

And yet, in 26 years of mutual obsession, the two women never actually met. Their confrontation was carried out through letters, a brutal war of words that is dramatized here for the first time.

 

 

Armada
The two queens stared across the ultimate divides of their time: Protestant and Catholic, Tudor and Stuart, English and Scottish.

Armada: 12 Days to Save England

Anita Dobson makes a marvellous Elizabeth I in this three-part drama documentary presented by Dan Snow.

Reliving the fierce battles at sea and the machinations at Court, the serial tells the story of how England came within a whisker of disaster in summer 1588, and of how it was a remarkable web of misunderstandings that ultimately stopped the Spanish from invading.

 

 

Queen Elizabeth I: A Timewatch Guide
The English victory was what forged the reputation and the legend of Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth I: A Timewatch Guide

  • 10 Feb 2016
  • 60 mins

Queen Elizabeth I: A Timewatch Guide

The Virgin Queen is a legend, an emblem and an inspiration.  Under Elizabeth Tudor, England was a time of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh, and also of a bitter feud with Mary, Queen of Scots and victory against the Spanish Armada.

Here, Vanessa Collingridge examines the life of Elizabeth, and also looks at how that life has been portrayed by television over the years.

Using 60 years of archive footage, the story of Elizabeth’s upbringing, her conflicts and her victories reveal how she created a legacy that has changed with time but yet still remains today.

 

“She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all” said Pope Sixtus V.

Kate Adie’s Women of World War One

  • 11 Aug 2014
  • 60 mins

Kate Adie’s Women of World War One

In 1914, women from every class and corner of Britain were part of the war effort. This is their story, which culminated in women finally gaining the vote.

Millicent Fawcett said of women and the First World War: “It found them serfs and left them free.” Here Kate Adie examines the impact of women’s work on the Home Front during the conflict. Those four years saw innovations such as the first women’s police force, women’s football and female surgeons operating on men. But what would be crucial was whether such things would survive beyond the Armistice.

The Daily Telegraph said: “This was packed with such fascinating historical nuggets. Never once did we feel like we were being spoken down to… Adie told a bittersweet story with refreshing clarity and nuance”.

 

Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley's 100 Years of the WI
One factory worker said she felt like she was “let out of the cage” and was able to earn three times what she did as a servant.

Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley’s 100 Years of the WI

  • 20 Jul 2015
  • 60 mins

Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers

Celebrating 100 years of the Women’s Institute, Lucy Worsley reveals the surprisingly radical side of a British Institution.

The WI’s origins may have been humble but its ambitions were grand. It was a product of the suffragette era, and was a fighting unit, campaigning for women’s rights in all areas of British life, from decent housing to equal pay. Ultimately, it was a victim of its own success; by the Sixties, membership was declining. But it survived by undergoing a remarkable reinvention.