Remember, remember…

..the fifth of November. Well, not difficult as it was only yesterday, and I was reminded of the date by various loud bangs and bright flashes.[1]

But this year was the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, so a little more commemoration than normal has been going on. The Royal Mint issued a special £2 coin this year, more books have been published, and there have been some new TV programmes.

In the last week, there were two quite different investigations on British TV. The first was on Tuesday night, on the generally populist channel ITV1. So rather than having serious historians talking about things, they, well, built a full sized replica of the House of Lords as it would have been in 1605, put 36 barrels of gunpowder underneath it and blew it up. Rather silly, quite pointless, but a lot of fun :bouncy: .

Then on Friday night, BBC2’s generally more sober Timewatch presented a rather more serious investigation of how close the plot came to achieving its aim. All the usual things you’d expect – proper serious historians talking about the background of the plotters, and so on. But it did include some nice computer graphics of the buildings at Westminster in the early 17th Century, and showed them being blown up quite successfully. It could have done with a little more explanation of the computer model, though. We just saw an anonymous collection of grey buildings, with no attempt to explain which was which until the explosion made it clear…

All good fun, really.

[1] Note for slower readers: fireworks