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Gunpowder Plot, The

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As far as a tip-off goes, this one was a classic. Just hours before Parliament was due to be in session, an anonymous warning reaches the authorities. The warning tells of a plot by Catholic terrorists to blow up the king and his ministers as they sit through a State Opening. Guards are sent to search the cellars, and sure enough a pile of coals hides a huge stash of deadly explosives, enough to blow the Palace of Westminster sky-high. A solitary figure spotted nearby, wrapped in a cape and holding a lantern, is soon arrested. He is unmasked as a mecenary called Guy Fawkes, the plot to blow up the Houses of Paliament is foiled and a new date is imprinted on a nation's consciousness. Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. The year is 1605. Almost four hundred years later, the memory of Guy Fawkes and his barrels of powder still sets the country alight every bonfire night. We assume we all know the story. But do we really? The Gunpowder Plot takes us into the clandestine world of English Catholics in the early seventeenth century: persecuted by law, they are forced to worship in secret as their faith is believed to be disloyal to the crown. We'll meet the prime movers of the plot: the disgruntled sons of the persecuted elite. The charasmatic ringleader, for example, was Robert Catesby, whereas Guy Fawkes merely acted as a pawn in the plot. By understanding who they were, The Gunpowder Plot exposes the moral and political questions behind an event that has been reduced to historical pantomime. Were they idealistic freedom fighters or evil terrorists prepared to kill hundreds of innocent people to further their cause? This dramatic story takes us into a dark world, full of double-dealings and questionable motives. By recreating key events, with actors playing the main characters and using rich archive material to anchor the story in history, we'll piece together an alternative version of events. One that maybe the government tried hard to conceal. Was there a traitor in their mists? Was the plot actually a fake, orchestrated by the government in order to execute leading Catholic opposition figures? These are the hotly contested theories behind the official version that still intrigues historians and conspiracy theories alike.

As far as a tip-off goes, this one was a classic. Just hours before Parliament was due to be in session, an anonymous warning reaches the authorities. The warning tells of a plot by Catholic terrorists to blow up the king and his ministers as they sit through a State Opening. Guards are sent to search the cellars, and sure enough a pile of coals hides a huge stash of deadly explosives, enough to blow the Palace of Westminster sky-high. A solitary figure spotted nearby, wrapped in a cape and holding a lantern, is soon arrested. He is unmasked as a mecenary called Guy Fawkes, the plot to blow up the Houses of Paliament is foiled and a new date is imprinted on a nation's consciousness. Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. The year is 1605. Almost four hundred years later, the memory of Guy Fawkes and his barrels of powder still sets the country alight every bonfire night. We assume we all know the story. But do we really? The Gunpowder Plot takes us into the clandestine world of English Catholics in the early seventeenth century: persecuted by law, they are forced to worship in secret as their faith is believed to be disloyal to the crown. We'll meet the prime movers of the plot: the disgruntled sons of the persecuted elite. The charasmatic ringleader, for example, was Robert Catesby, whereas Guy Fawkes merely acted as a pawn in the plot. By understanding who they were, The Gunpowder Plot exposes the moral and political questions behind an event that has been reduced to historical pantomime. Were they idealistic freedom fighters or evil terrorists prepared to kill hundreds of innocent people to further their cause? This dramatic story takes us into a dark world, full of double-dealings and questionable motives. By recreating key events, with actors playing the main characters and using rich archive material to anchor the story in history, we'll piece together an alternative version of events. One that maybe the government tried hard to conceal. Was there a traitor in their mists? Was the plot actually a fake, orchestrated by the government in order to execute leading Catholic opposition figures? These are the hotly contested theories behind the official version that still intrigues historians and conspiracy theories alike.

Programme Information

  • Genre: History

  • Subgenre: Factual

  • Producers: WALL TO WALL TELEVISION LTD

  • Broadcaster: n/a

  • Duration: 1 x 90'

  • Tags: History Conspiracy Mystery

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