Wednesday, 1 May 2013

BBC’s Talking Tudor Day

On Sunday,  April 28th I attended the BBC’s Talking Tudor event at the M shed museum in Bristol.  It was organised in conjunction with BBC history magazine, and sold out very quickly.  It was the chance to meet 6 acclaimed historians who have written about the Tudors.  They all gave a talk for about 35 minutes on various topics.  These were –

·         Chris Skidmore, author of ‘Bosworth’, ‘Edward VI’ and ‘Death and the Virgin’ (all of which I have).  He was there to talk about Bosworth and the birth of the Tudor dynasty.

·         Thomas Penn, author of the brilliant ‘Henry VII, the Winter King’, one of my recommended books.  He gave a talk on aspects of Henry VII financial policies.

·         Robert Hutchinson, author of books on Thomas Cromwell, the early and later life of Henry VIII and a very good book on Walsingham, Elizabeth’s spymaster, (again, I have all these).  He spoke about the Spanish Armada.

·         Suzannah Lipscombe, author of ‘1536, the year that changed Henry VIII’  a very good insight into Henry VIII’s character, and ‘A Visitor’s Companion  to Tudor England’.   Her focus was ‘The Anne Boleyn controversies’ (she’d written an article for the magazine in March).

·         Steven Gunn -  who has done research into accidents to ‘ordinary’ Tudor folk, and who assisted Chris Skidmore in his book on Amy Robsart by finding the documents on her inquest.

·         Anna Whitelock, author of a new book on Elizabeth 1st, and the only one I did not have a book by.

The event was very well attended and each historian gave a talk and then took questions.  I enjoyed all the talks given by the historians,  and in particular the talk by Suzannah Lipscombe on Anne Boleyn, although I don’t necessarily agree on her conclusion as to why Anne had to die.   All were very engaging, and I surprisingly enjoyed Steven Gunn’s presentation about accidental death in Tudor times – it gave a good insight into the dangers of work faced by ordinary folk, be it falling from a tree to shake down acorns for pigs to feed on, to toppling into a stream trying to gather large leaves in order to put freshly baked loaves on to cool.  Particularly moving were the accounts of those accidents involving children,  for example a 9 year old child being taught how to handle a cart by his father, getting carried away and the cart over-turning, and the little girl making mud pies who fell back into a ditch. 

Of course, in choosing the Tudors, the BBC picked a ‘hot topic’, but it is to be hoped they carry on with these events.




Kasia Ogrodnik said...

How very interesting, Anerje! I wish more such meetings were organized in Poland involving the themes and historical eras I'm interested in, the Piast dynasty in particular. Did you ask any questions, BTW? I'm curious because I can still remember your visit to the Tower and a little chat you had with Prince Edward and his sister :-)

Susan Higginbotham said...

I'm so jealous!

Anerje said...

Hi Kasia and Susan, yes I did ask a question - 2 in fact! I asked Chris Skidmore if Richard III had won the Bosworth battle, in his opinion, would that be the end of the Wars of the Roses - he found it rather tricky to answer. And I asked Suzannah Lipscombe about her theory that Anne Boleyn was destroyed by her flirty behaviour - that Henry came to believe she was guilty because of it. I asked surely Henry would have expected Anne to be the object of courtly love for men at court as the Queen, and as such, she would be the ultimate object because she was unavailable. Suzannah believes Henry's jealousy got the better of him.

I should point out the event didn't come cheap - £50 a ticket!