Last night the BBC aired the first part of Peter Ackroyd’s London – a totally fascinating history of London. Yesterday’s episode was Fire and Destiny which according to BBC Two’s site went ‘From Boadicea’s torching of the city to recent bombings’. In the programme Peter Ackroyd traces London’s extraordinary ability to survive and grow stronger every time it burns.
Actors re-created historical figures talking about their time in London; Charlotte Bronte, Samuel Pepys and a Roman historian were among the characters featured last night.
Of course the main features of the programme were September 1666’s Great Fire (officially only 4 people died) and the German bombings of World War II (6000 people killed in the first 30 days of the bombing) but it seems that London has burnt many times since its founding in 50AD.
It was a thoroughly fascinating programme and well made. It was not your typical history programme for Peter Ackroyd gives London a real personality. I wholeheartedly recommend the other couple of programmes in the series. I’m quite interested in taking one of the walks have been designed to work with the programme.