Things We Forgot to Remember

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Publisher Description

Michael Portillo uncovers the forgotten events concealed by famous moments in history History is complicated, and to make sense of it, we construct a narrative, editing and shaping the past to form a coherent story. But in doing so, there is much we leave out, leading to gaps in our collective memory. In this series, broadcaster and former politician Michael Portillo revisits some of history's best-known moments to fill in some of these gaps, rediscovering forgotten events that augment our understanding and shift our perspective. Reappraising milestones such as the Spanish Armada, the French Revolution, the First World War and the Great Depression, he probes our selective amnesia, asking what we have mythologised, and what we've ignored. Was Alfred the Great really a bold English hero, or an Anglo-Saxon spin doctor? Why is Georgian England remembered for its elegant architecture and regency refinement when this period of history was full of riots and political strife? And could the Bengal famine of 1943, a horrific event in British India that cost at least 1.5 million lives, have been avoided? Talking to leading historians and experts, Portillo peels back the layers of history to uncover the uncomfortable truths and murky, ambiguous stories behind iconic events such as the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688, the struggle for Indian independence and the Boston Tea Party. He also reveals a Suffragette plot to assassinate Herbert Asquith; shows how a disastrous attempt at overseas colonisation led to the 1707 Act of Union merging England and Scotland; and takes a look at the real losers of the Battle of Trafalgar - the Spanish. Not revisionist, but restorative, this fascinating series challenges the orthodox view of history without glossing over its complexities, presenting a surprising, thought-provoking re-evaluation of our past and reminding us that the events we choose to remember are not always those that are the most significant. Production credits Presented by Michael Portillo Produced by Julia Adamson, Tom Alban, Marya Burgess, Joanne Cayford, James Cook, James Crawford, Neil George, Laurence Grissell, Julia Johnson, Roger Mahony, Neil McCarthy, Paula McGinley and Philip Sellars Consultant: Chris Williams of the Open University First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the following dates: Series 1 The Battle of Mers-el-Kebir 16 May 2005 The Spanish Armada 23 May 2005 The French Revolution 6 June 2005 Series 2 Jack the Ripper 27 November 2006 The First World War 4 December 2006 The 1945 Labour Government 11 December 2006 Series 3 On Suffragettes 24 December 2007 The Darien Scheme 31 December 2007 The Bengal Famine 7 January 2008 The Battle of Trafalgar 14 January 2008 Series 4 The League of Nations 15 December 2008 Alfred the Great 22 December 2008 Series 5 Chamberlain and 'Peace for our Time' 1938 14 December 2009 The Hanseatic League 21 December 2009 The Glorious Revolution 28 December 2009 Series 6 King Harold 15 November 2010 The Violent Side of Indian Independence 29 November 2010 The Great Depression in the USA 6 December 2010 Series 7 The Real Boston Tea Party, 1773 13 November 2011 Police Strike 20 November 2011 The English Armada 4 December 2011 Series 8 The Georgian Façade 11 June 2012 © 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.

Michael Portillo
hr min
8 September
BBC Audio

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