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  • BBC Four
  • 2017-01-26T00:00:00Z
  • 60 mins
  • 3 hours, 0 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • Documentary
Lucy Worsley explores how British history is a concoction of fibs and stories manipulated by whoever was in power at the time.

3 episodes

1x01 The Wars of the Roses

  • Series Premiere

    2017-01-26T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

According to the history books, after 30 years of bloody battles between the white-rosed Yorkists and the red-rosed Lancastrians, Henry Tudor rid us of civil war and the evil king Richard III. But Lucy reveals how the Tudors invented the story of the 'Wars of the Roses' after they came to power to justify their rule. She shows how Henry and his historians fabricated the scale of the conflict, forged Richard's monstrous persona and even conjured up the image of competing roses. When our greatest storyteller William Shakespeare got in on the act and added his own spin, Tudor fiction was cemented as historical fact. Taking the story right up to date, with the discovery of Richard III's bones in a Leicester car park, Lucy discovers how 15th-century fibs remain as compelling as they were over 500 years ago. As one colleague tells Lucy: 'Never believe an historian!

1x02 The Glorious Revolution

  • 2017-02-02T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

In 1688, the British Isles were invaded by a huge army led by Dutch prince, William of Orange. With his English wife Mary he stole the throne from Mary's father, the Catholic King James II. This was the death knell for absolute royal power and laid the foundations of our constitutional monarchy. It was spun as a 'glorious and bloodless revolution'. But how 'glorious' was it really? It led to huge slaughter in Ireland and Scotland. Lucy reveals how the facts and fictions surrounding 1688 have shaped our national story ever since.

1x03 The Jewel in the Crown

  • 2017-02-09T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

In the final episode, Lucy debunks the fibs that surround the 'jewel in the crown' of the British Empire - India. Travelling to Kolkata, she investigates how the Raj was created following a British government coup in 1858. After snatching control from the discredited East India Company, the new regime presented itself as a new kind of caring, sharing imperialism with Queen Victoria as its maternal Empress. Tyranny, greed and exploitation were to be things of the past. From the 'black hole of Calcutta' to the Indian 'mutiny', from East India Company governance to crown rule, and from Queen Victoria to Empress of India, Lucy reveals how this chapter of British history is another carefully edited narrative that's full of fibs.

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