• 0%
    0 votes
  • Rate this season
    What did you think?
  • 42
  • 125
  • 6.3k
  • 2013-05-31T21:00:00+01:00 on BBC Two
  • 60 mins
  • 3 hours, 0 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary

Ian Mortimer transports viewers back to Elizabethan England and reveals, in vivid detail, a living, breathing Tudor world. Viewers learn how ordinary Tudor housewives turned plants into medicine, how the middle classes kept themselves clean using linen cloths, how the poor made pottage, how cooks of the rich devised recipes for new ingredients, and how Tudors learned to read and write.

3 episodes

1x01 The Common People

  • Series Premiere

    2013-05-31T21:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Although most people have images of courtiers in fine clothes and lavish palaces, the reality is that most Elizabethans are poor. What is it like to live in a dank, smoke-filled hovel in the countryside? How will you cope in a world of darkness? What will you eat, how will you travel, what work will you get? How can you survive on as little as fourpence a day? Ian also looks at the religious controversies threatening to pull the country apart, as well as revealing an astoundingly cruel Elizabethan England, not just to animals but also to women and children. Plus, there are surprises along the way. For example, did you know that witchcraft is legal - and that even the church employs witches?

1x02 The Rich

  • 2013-06-07T21:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Dr. Ian Mortimer introduces you to the world of the Elizabethan rich and privileged. Money alone is not enough to allow you to blend in with the Royal Court. There is much to learn about how the wealthy dress, greet and behave. The high classes operate with their own secret codes of manners, dress, hygiene and dancing. Even something as simple as the size of your ruff may be enough to betray an out of date outfit and have you excluded from the upper levels of society. This is quite literally a cut-throat world; spies circle the great and good and one false word from you or your servants could cost you everything. Then there is the Queen herself, including the horrifying cost of hosting a Royal progress. These are dangerous days and those who have the most also have the most to lose.

1x03 Brave New World

  • 2013-06-14T21:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

In the final episode of the series, Dr Ian Mortimer travels through the world of a new and upwardly mobile section of Elizabethan society - the middle class. In a groundbreaking new way of exploring history, Ian takes viewers on a present-tense journey through this golden age of English history. Along the way he visits Stratford-Upon-Avon and reveals how urbanisation improves ordinary people's lives. He drops in at Shakespeare's school to uncover how education transforms society and explores how this age of discovery helps spur a scientific revolution that creates a new world. Ian also transports viewers to the electrifying world of Elizabethan theatre at Shakespeare's Globe and tells the dramatic story of how English imperial ambitions leads to the Armada and the threat of Spanish invasion.