Unconventional format but informative and memorable.
1066 – every schoolchild knows the basics, but history is given a contemporary spin here in this short but detailed biography of the persons and circumstances leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the change in fate of Britain.
Using the Bayeux Tapestry as its synopsis, poet Simon Armitage brings us verses about the kings, lords and commoners involved in the documented battle. The personal perspective of the characters is quite fresh-feeling as we learn of their emotions and lives, knowing the outcome of the story.
The most startling aspect of the audio, however, comes when the familiar voice of Kirsty Wark brings us news updates from the period, from the scenes of battles, giving us a journalistic perspective that these events have never seen before. The idea of this voice and style describing the events in this way was quite gripping, brought the action of the past into the present.
Some famous voices are in the cast, the poetry was at times very beautiful and stark. It all made the production very professional, smooth and curious.
Anybody with an interest in medieval history might want to consider listening to this novel approach to reporting and recording history for a contemporary audience.
Katy Noyes 4/5
The Bayeux Tapestry: A BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation
BBC Digital Audio B07R53QHCC audiobook Aug 2019