Making History BBC Radio4
A listener got in touch with the fab ‘Making History’ programme on Radio 4 because he owned a recording of George V making a speech at the opening of the 1930 London Naval Conference, and wanted to know a bit more about it. Why did America, Britain, Japan, France and Italy meet in London in 1930? Why were the Germans not there? What role did the 1930 conference have in the run-up to the Second World War? I very much enjoyed meeting the brilliant Helen Castor on board HMS Belfast to answer all of these questions and many more and will let you know as soon as I have a broadcast date.
I will be appearing at three fantastic festivals this Spring and Summer: The sensible Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival in March, the enormously fun Chalke Valley History Festival in June and the ice-creamy Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival in September. Tents, history and…er…cider. Mmmmm.
Museum Secrets for the History Channel
Well I recently returned from a lovely two days’ filming for the new series of the fab Museum Secrets. This time they are exploring the treasures of the National Maritime Museum and we investigated some stories surrounding Nelson, William Bligh, and er….lightning conductors. There will be explosions galore, and some really very surprising results from some really very entertaining experiments. I will let you know when we have a broadcast date!
Turner Documentary for BBC2
I have recently done some filming for a new BBC2 documentary about Turner, and particularly about his interest in technology. Turner was always fascinated with anything newsworthy and particularly with new British inventions. We started off filming early one morning at the V&A Museum, a really fabulous place to walk around before the doors are opened. There is a great deal of Turner material at the V&A but we were particularly interested in his painting of George William Manby’s life-saving apparatus, which I have mentioned in my BLOG. We then went to an ancient tidal mill in the East End of London to discuss Turner’s most beloved painting, ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ which is also the subject of the first of my Hearts of Oak Trilogy.
Antigua Documentary for BBC4
In August 2010 a massive hurricane hit the island of Antigua and unearthed a graveyard on a beach opposite English Harbour, once the site of a major British naval dockyard. With an international team of archaeologists we excavated the sand-dune in the summer of 2012. This documentary tells the story of that excavation and more broadly of Antigua in the age of sail. Now a paradise where people go on honeymoon, Nelson once described Antigua as an ‘infernal hole’. Why was it such a godforsaken place? Why were so many people buried on a beach?
I will soon be posting details of my next book which will be published in February 2013.