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Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World – Friday 15 January – Programme Details – Radio Times

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Friday 15 January
9:00pm – 10:00pm
BBC2
1/4 – Heart of Oak

Dan Snow loves sailing. And history. So it makes perfect sense for him to chart the history of the British Navy, starting just over 400 years ago when our tiny nation defeated the mighty Spanish Armada and Britannia pretty well ruled the waves. Snow hops from the bridge of a modern battleship to a punt on the River Cam to the crow’s nest on a replica Tudor ship to the deck of a small yacht, passionately describing great sea battles as well as events from the darker chapters of our maritime story. The navy, he says, transformed our sense of national identity, our culture and our democracy. As this four-part series appears to have been so well researched, who would argue? There’s a relentless tide of facts and details: in the mid-17th century, England spent 25 per cent of its national budget on the navy; the heroic Francis Drake was initially a slave trader; diarist Samuel Pepys overhauled the navy’s administration, laying the foundation for our civil service. And – interestingly, although not vital to include in a naval history – Pepys had a penchant for sex orgies.

via Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World – Friday 15 January – Programme Details – Radio Times.