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History professor to feature on BBC Four programme

Posted on 08/05/2012

Are you a Roundhead or a Cavalier? That is the question posed in a new BBC Four programme analysing the effects the 17th century civil war has had on modern Britain.

The programme features analysis by Professor Justin Champion, from the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London and includes sections filmed on campus in the North Quad.

In the middle of the 17th century, Britain was devastated by a civil war that divided the nation into two tribes - the Roundheads and the Cavaliers. In this programme, celebrities and historians reveal that modern Britain is still defined by the battle between the two tribes.

Professor Champion said: “I was filmed outside the banqueting house where Charles I was executed in 1649, in the House of Lords records office talking about the significance and meaning of the execution of Charles I - arguably the most important event in British history - and on horse guards parade and in the North Quad at Royal Holloway talking about the legacy of the revolution.”

The Cavaliers represent a Britain of panache, pleasure and individuality. They are confronted by the Roundheads, who stand for modesty, discipline, equality and state intervention.

The ideas which emerged 350 years ago shaped our democracy, civil liberties and constitution. They also create a cultural divide that influences how we live, what we wear and even what we eat and drink.

The programme will explain how individuals usually identify with one tribe or the other, but sometimes they need some elements of the enemy's identity.

Roundhead or Cavalier: Which One Are You? will be broadcast on BBC Four on Tuesday 15 May at 9pm.


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