Channel 4 Education Newsletter – June 2010



Bloody Foreigners

A four-part series of drama-documentaries…

The Great Fire

Everyone knows that the Great Fire of London started at a baker’s in
Pudding Lane. Reeling from plague and war, and torn apart by sectarian
tensions, many Londoners believed the fire had been started deliberately by
foreign enemies living within their midst. As the city burned, Londoners
hunted the foreign fire-starters.

After an orgy of rage and violence, the mob found a scapegoat – a Frenchman
who claimed to have committed this act of terror – and demanded their pound
of flesh. But as stories of hardship and heroism emerged, the authorities
found evidence that London’s foreign communities had been more loyal than
they could ever have imagined.

TX 28 June at 9pm

The Battle of Trafalgar

Nelson famously signalled the Battle of Trafalgar with the words: ‘England
expects that every man will do his duty’. However, 1400 of the 18,000
sailors fighting for King and Country were not British, with 25 different
nationalities press-ganged into serving the British King. Analysing the
records of warship HMS Bellerophon has enabled historians to reveal their
fascinating story.

The Navy recruited hundreds of men from all over the world, including many
ex-slaves from the West Indies and America. For many, the Royal Navy was
the world’s first equal opportunities employer, offering freedom and equal
pay. This film pays tribute to the diverse nationalities that sailed on 21
October 1805 to take part in the bloodiest battle in naval history.

TX 29 June at 9pm

Britain’s African Emperor

In a mountainous land at the edge of its empire, the world’s only
superpower was bogged down in an asymmetric war against deadly insurgents.
Sound familiar? But this happened almost 2000 years ago. This is the story
of the little known and only black Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, an
African who seized Rome’s imperial throne and fought a brutal campaign to
subdue northern Britain.

In 207AD Severus marched over Hadrian’s Wall with a vast army, but the
Britons attacked the Roman patrols and then melted back into the mountains.
He died four years later in York, unable to defeat the enemy north of The
Wall and helping create the English-Scottish divide familiar to us today.

TX 30 June at 9pm

The Polish Battle of Britain

During the most decisive phase of the Battle of the Britain, a single
squadron of 34 Polish fighter pilots wreaked havoc on the Luftwaffe,
helping change the course of history. The story of 303 Squadron is an
extraordinary episode in the Second World War. The Polish Pilots faced a
bitter struggle for acceptance when they first arrived in this country.

As the Battle of Britain got underway, inexperienced British pilots were
paying a heavy cost. Belatedly, the Poles were cleared for active service
and had an immediate impact. They were the highest scoring RAF squadron,
but as the war ended their joy turned to despair as they saw their country
handed to Stalin.

TX 1 July at 9pm

History Games

Alongside the Bloody Foreigners series, Channel 4 Education has launched
two new history games. Trafalgar Origins is an online flash game
highlighting the importance of foreigners in the navy. It is created by
award winning creative studio Preloaded, with extraordinary historical
accuracy advised by Brian Lavery, Curator Emeritus at the Greenwich
National Maritime Museum. To take a look, click here

Battle of Britain: 303 Squadron is an online flash game re-creating a
turning point in the Battle of Britain when a single squadron of
34 Polish fighter pilots wreaked havoc on the Luftwaffe. It is created by
Fish in a Bottle, one of the UK’s leading creative digital agencies. To
take a look, click here

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