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Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 2 Episode 4: Magna Carta

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Michael Portillo examines overlooked but noteworthy historical events. 3/4: Magna Carta.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting great moments of history which often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance. 3/4: Magna Carta.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.

4/4. Magna Carta

Nearly 800 years after it was signed, Magna Carta is still venerated as the bedrock of English justice and liberty. Yet in truth its impact was a good deal less far-reaching than is popularly believed.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 2 Episode 3: The 1945 Labour Government

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

4/4. Michael Portillo scrutinises the reputation of the 1945 Labour Government.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting great moments of history which often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance. 4/4. The 1945 Labour Government.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 6 Episode 4: The Great Depression in the USA

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo compares the myths and reality of America's Great Depression.

Michael Portillo asks whether our popular memory of the past conceals forgotten truths, comparing the myths and reality of the Great Depression in 1930s America.

Michael Portillo revisits landmark moments in history, asking whether our popular memory of the past conceals forgotten truths. In this edition, Michael looks back at the Great Depression and compares the myths and reality of 1930s America.

Producer: Julia Johnson.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 2 Episode 1: Jack the Ripper

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Michael Portillo investigates the fear Londoners felt in the late 1880s.

Michael Portillo investigates the fear Londoners felt in the late 1880s - not because of one man, but rather the catastrophic collapse of a whole way of life.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 2 Episode 2: First World War

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Michael tells the story of battles fought in the last 100 days of the war.

Michael tells the story of battles fought in the last 100 days of the war and explores how British forces progressed from the slaughter of the Somme to the victories of 1918.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 6 Episode 3: 3. The Violent Side of Indian Independence

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo revisits the Indian struggle for independence.

Michael Portillo looks at the Indian struggle for independence in the early twentieth century and finds that there was violent as well as peaceful protest.

The struggle for Indian independence is remembered most for the peaceful protests inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. In this week's Things We Forgot To Remember Michael Portillo discovers the seam of violence that ran alongside the peaceful civil disobedience. In particular he looks at the pivotal role played by India House, a villa in North London that became a base for those plotting against British rule in India. He also investigates how in the First World War , Germany tried to destabilise the British Empire by exploiting Indian disaffection.

Producer: James Crawford.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 7 Episode 1: The Real Boston Tea Party, 1773

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo uncovers a tale of smuggling and corruption.

Michael Portillo examines the real events of the Boston Tea Party and sees how a murky and ambiguous act of vandalism has been recast as a founding moment in American liberty.

In 1773 a group of American revolutionaries threw tea into Boston Harbour to protest against rising British Taxes. The 'Boston Tea Party' has become a founding moment in American History and, ahead of the 2012 presidential elections; a 'Tea Party' is again making the US political weather. This republican small-government movement with real grass-roots power may hold the keys to the White House and it takes both its name and its slogan - no taxation without representation - directly from 1773.

But the Boston Tea party that we remember is a long way from events as they actually happened. The murky and ambiguous real story owes more to the vested interests of smugglers than revolutionary patriotism. No wonder the American founding fathers initially took a dim view of such violence against property. And the tax on tea was actually going down.

Peeling back the layers of history, Michael examines how the tea party has been re-engineered over time. He also discovers that events like the Molasses Act and the Boston Massacre were arguably more significant in fermenting rebellion, forging a national identity and ultimately leading to independence. Both have now been overshadowed by the more romantic idea of the Boston Tea Party.

We have been sold a version of the revolution that is much simpler than at the time. Out of a total population of 2.5 million, eighty five thousand Americans loyal to the British crown were forced to quit their native land. Most went to Britain, neither welcomed nor wanted there, some went west and built new lives under assumed names. Thousands were tarred and feathered or hanged from trees, which later became symbols of the great Revolution.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 4 Episode 3: The League of Nations

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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The successful, but forgotten, interventions made by the much-maligned League of Nations.

Michael Portillo re-examines the reputation of the League of Nations. Born at the end of World War One it has been damned for failing to avoid a second conflict. But is that fair?

Michael Portillo re-examines the reputation of the League of Nations. Born out of the carnage of World War One it has been damned for failing to avoid a second conflict. But is that a fair judgement?

As an institution set up in the aftermath of a terrible conflict and amidst hopes that such horrors would never be repeated, it seems only right that the League of Nations should be deemed one of history's great failures. But in exploring the origins and works of the League Michael Portillo finds a number of things that have been forgotten in the over-whelming desire to lump the failings of the interwar years on a single identifiable scapegoat.

With the help of a former UN Ambassador and historians who have analysed the finer details of what happened at League meetings and conferences, he establishes a rounder picture of the League, both in its failings and successes. It did, after all resolve a number of border conflicts, very similar to the ones that had sparked the First World War. It also rescued the ailing Austrian economy and brought together the greatest Economists of the world who were given the opportunity to formulate global financial plans that formed the basis of the post Second World War economic system.

Of course, in pushing for the setting up of the United Nations it was expedient to establish clear water between a system that appeared to have failed and a new one which might be able to learn the harsh lessons of the interwar years.

Producer: Tom Alban

(repeat).

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 7 Episode 2: Police Strike

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo discovers riots on the streets in forgotten police strikes of 1918-19.

Michael Portillo revisits the police strikes of 1918-19 and discovers a moment more revolutionary than the general strike of 1926.

From feared revolutionary catalysts to unwavering upholders of the law, Michael Portillo discovers the origins of modern-day policing in the forgotten police strikes of 1918-19.

We remember their role in upholding law and order following the 1926 General Strike. Ever since, the police have been a thin blue line between the workers and the state. But British bobbies did not always stand apart from the trade union movement. Less than a decade earlier, the police went on strike over pay and conditions, with severe consequences. In Liverpool, warships and tanks accompanied troops on the streets to quell riots and looting.

With Russia's October Revolution fresh in the mind, fears that Britain was on the brink of Bolshevism led to swift action from the Prime Minister, David Lloyd-George, upgrading police pay and removing their right to strike. The settlement established a model for future Government relations with the police and banished the idea of a police trade union.

Michael Portillo visits the Merseyside Police Archives to learn the harsh fate of the strikers. He hears from former officers and historians who believe the police strikes are often over-looked as a radical moment in modern British history, laying the foundations for the role of the police in the General Strike and other times of industrial unrest - such as Grunwick, Wapping and the Miners Strike.

Producer: Roger Mahony.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 4 Episode 1: The Jarrow March

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo uncovers a violent precursor to the dignified 1936 Jarrow March.

Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history for events of equal but forgotten importance. Michael uncovers a violent precursor to the dignified 1936 Jarrow March.

Michael Portillo with the series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal, but forgotten, importance.

The Jarrow March.

'Marshal Riley's Army', the 'Jarrow Crusade' has become a symbol of the reaction of British society to the mass unemployment of the 1930s. In the month of October 1936, two hundred out-of-work Jarrow men came south to draw London's attention to their plight. They did not make political demands, but merely asked that something ought to be done to help them. They were polite, respectful, and orderly, and as they passed, all sections of society, rich and poor, came out to greet them. The Jarrow Marchers were treated to a heroes' welcome when they got to London. They showed how much the British cared about the unemployed, so now their place in history is secure.

But, Michael discovers that here had been a variety of "Hunger Marches" going back to the 1920s, the biggest of which was in 1932 organised by the Comunist backed National Unemployed Workers Movement or NUWM, after the level of unemployment was cut, with thousands of men and women marching to London. When the march arrived in Hyde Park on October 27th 1932, 100,000 supporters were greeted by over 3,000 police who launched a series of mounted charges into the crowds, and the arrival ended in chaos. But this event lead to the formation of the movement for civil liberties which resulted in the pressure group Liberty being formed.

So - why do we remember Jarrow? Maybe because it is pleasant to think of the past as an era of social peace, a time when there was a dignity in poverty and working men would ask for, rather than take, social and political recognition

Producer - Neil George

(repeat).

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 6 Episode 2: Jesse Owens and the Nazi Olympics

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Michael Portillo revisits the Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal, but forgotten, importance. This week, the Berlin Olympics of 1936.

Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal, but forgotten, importance. This week he looks at forgotten aspects of the 1936 Berlin Olympics . Did Adolf Hitler really snub Jesse Owens after the American athlete won an unprecedented four gold medals ? What have we forgotten about the efforts made in Britain and the United States to boycott the Games and why weren't those efforts successful ? And what do the Games tell us about the uneasy relationship between sport and politics in the years before the outbreak of war.

Producer:Joanne Cayford.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 3 Episode 1: On Suffragettes

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Parts of the Suffragette movement's history have been conveniently forgotten.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting great moments of history which often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance. 1/4: On Suffragettes.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 3 Episode 2: The Darien Scheme

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The real reason behind the 1707 Act of Union which saw England and Scotland merged.

Michael Portillo revisits great moments of history which often conceal other events. The real reason behind the 1707 Act of Union which saw England and Scotland merged.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.

The real reason behind the 1707 Act of Union which saw England and Scotland merged was a disastrous colonial expedition. But why did a small settlement in what is now Panama bring a nation to its knees and why it has been reduced to such a tiny footnote in the story?

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 7 Episode 3: French Resistance

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo explores how the legend of the French Resistance blurred its real legacy.

Michael Portillo discovers how romantic memories of the French Resistance created a military legend which overshadowed its more important political role in post-war France.

Michael Portillo discovers how romantic memories of the French Resistance created an enduring military legend which overshadowed its more important political role in shaping post war France.

When we remember the Resistance we think of square-jawed men in leather jackets hiding out in caves and young women in berets bent over secret radios - thanks to film and TV portrayals of those who resisted the German occupation. However, while acknowledging the bravery and sacrifice of individuals, historians and resisters themselves agree that the Resistance was not an effective military force. Active resisters numbered only 2% of the French population and until 1943 it was a fractured group of several different movements.

But in 1944 the Resistance, which had become increasingly made up of Communists, drew up a charter of social and political reforms to be implemented after the liberation of France. General Charles de Gaulle, whose regard for the Resistance was equivocal and who was not a champion of the left was, however, a pragmatist. Mindful that he needed the support of the Resistance to bolster his case to become Prime Minister - in the face of Allied opposition - he agreed to these far reaching reforms which went on to shape the course of modern day France.

Michael Portillo hears from former resisters including Stephane Hessel who believes modern France has lost sight of the values many people lost their lives for.

Producer: Paula McGinley.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 8 Episode 2: Morgenthau Plan and post-war Germany

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo remembers the Morgenthau Plan, drawn up to punish post-war Germany.

Michael Portillo remembers the Morgenthau Plan which aimed to strip post-war Germany of its industry and turn it into an agricultural country. It was replaced by the Marshall Plan.

Michael Portillo remembers the Morgenthau Plan which aimed to strip post war Germany of its industry and turn it into an agricultural country. It was replaced by the Marshall Plan.

Many of us remember the Marshall Plan, the US programme to rebuild post war Europe. Far less is known about the Morganthau Plan (also drawn up in Washington a few years earlier) which aimed, amongst other things, to destroy German industry after the country had surrendered. Winston Churchill also signed up to the plan which would turn Germany into an agrarian "pastoral" society, unable to manufacture the machinery of warfare in the future. Michael Portillo examines the Morganthau Plan and discovers it was in fact drafted by a Soviet agent working high up in the US Administration. He considers the implications of this, looks at how far the plan was implemented and asks why we have forgotten to remember it.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 4 Episode 4: Alfred the Great

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo investigates Alfred the Great - English hero or Saxon spin-doctor?

Michael Portillo revisits the great moments of history and looks at the reputation of King Alfred the Great - bold English hero or Anglo Saxon spin-doctor?

Michael Portillo presents an edition of The Things We Forgot to Remember which looks at the reputation of King Alfred the Great: bold English hero or Anglo Saxon spin-doctor?

Alfred the Great sits at the root of English history. The man who burnt the cakes, the man who held the line against the marauding Vikings and the man who, more than almost any other monarch in our history, defined the national identity. He was a bulldog before the bulldog had been bred. But Michael Portillo explores the reality of Alfred's reign in Wessex. To what extent was he a great saviour? Have we forgotten to remember that the most important thing about his reign was that he sponsored the reporting of it in the form of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles? Michael travels to Winchester to get try and disentangle the Anglo-Saxon spin.

Producer: Tom Alban

(repeat).

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 5 Episode 4: The Glorious Revolution

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo reconsiders the uncomfortable facts behind The Glorious Revolution.

Michael Portillo reconsiders the uncomfortable facts of invasion and occupation which lie behind the popular celebration of The Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 is remembered for establishing the supremacy of Parliament over the Crown, setting Britain on the path towards constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. Yet what's forgotten is that the events of 1688 actually constituted a foreign invasion of England by another European power, the Dutch Republic.

When William of Orange landed at Torbay in Devon on 5 November 1688, with a fleet four times the size of the Armada of the previous century, it was ostensibly at the invitation of seven Whig supporters who were anxious to avoid a Catholic succession to James II's reign. But William's invasion was central to his plan of war with France, ensuring that England would not add her armed force to that of the French; he was set on becoming king himself and was leading his troops as an occupying force. The last comparable event was a previous William's invasion in 1066.

Even though bloodshed in England was limited - though far from the entirely 'Bloodless' revolution that has been mythologised - the revolution was only secured in Ireland and Scotland by force and with much loss of life. Michael investigates the uncomfortable facts of invasion and occupation which lie behind the popular celebration of 1688.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 5 Episode 1: Joan of Arc

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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The myth and reality of Joan of Arc, and the other Frenchwoman who did more to save France

Michael Portillo explores the myth and reality of Joan of Arc, seen as the saviour of France in 1429. But have we forgotten another Frenchwoman who did more to save the nation?

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.

Michael explores the myth and memory of Joan of Arc, and discovers that another French woman deserves just as much, if not more, credit for saving France in its hour of need.

Battered by decades of war, riven by internal divisions and with large swathes of the country occupied by the English, Charles VII's France was on its knees in the 1420s. To its rescue came a young woman, Joan of Arc. Under her inspiration the fortunes of the country were turned round and France appeared saved. Joan's place in history was confirmed as she was burned at the stake at the age of 19.

But Joan's notoriety eclipses the contribution made by another of her contemporaries, who did as at least as much to secure the future of the French nation and its monarchy. She was Yolande D'Aragon, the King's mother-in-law. It was Yolande who used her position to secure the French monarchy by marriage, diplomacy and force. It was she who invited the young Joan to court, who provided her with her armour and who acted as her sponsor as an emblem of hope for the troops. It was also Yolande who ditched Joan as soon as she became a liability and spent the next decades making laws and allegiances to strengthen the French crown.

Michael investigates why her 40 years of service have been forgotten, buried in the mythology that has grown around Joan.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 5 Episode 2: Chamberlain and 'Peace for our Time' 1938

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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael examines Neville Chamberlain's 1938 declaration of 'peace for our time'.

Michael Portillo examines Neville Chamberlain's declaration of 'peace for our time' to jubilant crowds on 30th September 1938.

Michael Portillo presents a series revisiting the great moments of history to discover that they often conceal other events of equal but forgotten importance.

Michael examines one of the most notorious events in Britain's 20th century history, Neville Chamberlain's declaration of 'peace for our time' to jubilant crowds on 30th September 1938.

Things We Forgot to Remember

Series 8 Episode 4: The Junkers of Woodbridge Airfield

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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Michael Portillo remembers a crucial 1944 incident that impacted on the war.

Through the story of a German night fighter captured in Suffolk, Michael Portillo remembers the crucial electronic war waged between the Axis and the Allies.

Through the story of a German night fighter captured in Suffolk, Michael Portillo remembers the crucial electronic war waged between the Axis and the Allies.

In July 1944 the crew of a Junkers JU88 night fighter, lost and without fuel, emergency landed their plane on an RAF airfield in Suffolk. This gift from the skies provided British Air Intelligence with the latest German radar secrets. Throughout the war a technological see-saw had been underway with each side trying to gain the the advantage in radar detection and evasion equipment. The radar technology in this particular night fighter explained why large numbers of British bombers were being shot down from the rear and the RAF aircraft were quickly modified as a result.

Alongside distinguished historians and veterans of RAF Bomber Command Michael pieces together the story of that fateful night. He also explores how it illuminates the vital - yet lesser known - battle front of electronic warfare.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

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