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British Literature — Appreciation
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1.

The Knights of Camelot [electronic resource]

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table inspired legends, best sellers, and movies. Romantic and magical, the tales of Merlin the magician and the inhabitants of Camelot continue to fascinate after centuries. But could such a wondrous place as Camelot have once existed in reality? Was King Arthur merely a legend, or in fact a real historical figure? This episode of Ancient Mysteries interviews prominent British archaeologists and historians to discover the truth.
Online
1997
2.

Robert Winston

In this film the leading scientist, medical doctor and broadcaster Professor Robert Winston explores six incredible Treasures of the British Library. He is helped and guided by the Library’s expert curators, discovering amazing facts and quirky details about each book, manuscript or object. Above all he and we enjoy the privilege of spending time with a truly unique and historic document or object. Each item taps into a different aspect of Robert’s life, career and interests. They cover subjects as diverse as skiing and theater directing, ranging from a much-loved colleague’s pioneering lab notes to a rough notebook handwritten by Beethoven. Through the six Treasures Robert gains a glimpse of the sheer scale and breadth of the British Library collection, before ending the film with h [...]
Online
2018; 2016
3.

Shakespeare in Perspective: Titus Andronicus

Anthony Clare offers his personal view of the play which portrays the family as "the source of all our strengths, the genesis of our noblest hopes and foulest desires."
Online
2017; 1985
4.

Sense and Sensibility: Episode 1

Mrs. Dashwood is devastated when her beloved husband dies. The late Mr. Dashwood’s estate and fortune are bequeathed by law to his son from a previous marriage, John Dashwood, to the delight of John’s rapacious wife, Fanny. Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters are forced to move to a tiny cottage on a cousin’s estate in Devonshire, to start their lives again. It is perhaps Elinor, the eldest daughter, who is most upset to leave her childhood home. She has fallen in love with Fanny’s brother, the kind and unassuming Edward Ferrars. However, Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin, Sir John Middleton, ensures that the family settles into life in Devonshire. Before long, Elinor’s younger sister, Marianne, finds that she has an admirer in Sir John’s friend, Colonel Brandon. However, a rival soon emerges in th [...]
Online
2017; 2008
5.

The Woman in White: Episode 4

The lives of two half-sisters and their drawing master get caught up in a deadly conspiracy revolving around a mentally ill woman dressed all in white. In the fourth episode of the five part series, Laura Fairlie is presumed dead but is actually in an asylum and Walter Hartright learns the circumstance of Sir Percival Glyde's birth.
Online
2017; 1982
6.

Chaucer: Road to Canterbury

This video covers the life of English author, poet, philosopher, courtier, and diplomat Geoffrey Chaucer to middle age. Chaucer's 14th-century saw him survive the Black Death as a child, the plague that wiped out a third of the population of Europe, and become actively involved, both as a soldier and later as a secret agent, in the 100 Years' War—a war that was to leave England devastated. Despite these man-made and natural catastrophes, English literature went through a short Renaissance, and the program hints as to why this might have happened while considering the leading role that Chaucer was to play in it. Terry Jones (Monty Python) stars.
Online
2017; 2009
7.

Jane Austen's Life

This program looks at Austen and explores her personality by examining her correspondence and visiting the places she lived, in the process making a journey through the same glorious English countryside which Austen experienced for herself some 200 years ago.
Online
2017; 2005
8.

Shakespeare in Perspective: Othello

Novelist Susan Hill offers her personal view of a play which illustrates one of Shakespeare's most obsessive themes: the conflict between appearance and reality. Susan presents her personal view of the play from the interior of Saltwood Castle, Kent, as she describes the dark castle as suitable for the dark atmosphere of the play.
Online
2017; 1981
9.

The Falklands Play

Ian Curteis's play on the inside story of how the Thatcher government went to war to regain the Falklands. Originally commissioned in 1987, it was not staged until 15 years later as it was felt too politically sensitive at the time.
Online
2017; 2002
10.

The Tale of Robin Hood

The Tale of Robin Hood visits the areas where the outlaw is reputed to have roamed and examines the claims of the various candidates to be the real Robin Hood. With a wealth of location footage, it takes a fascinating look at law enforcement in the Middle Ages, including a visit to the prison cell where Robin Hood was reputedly imprisoned.
Online
2017; 2010
11.

Bleak House: Episode 6

This film adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel about the Victorian London legal system presents the beautiful Lady Dedlock who nurses a dark secret in her past, and the merciless lawyer Tulkinghorn who seeks to uncover it. Then there is the generous John Jarndyce, struggling with his past, and his two attractive young wards Richard and Ada. All of them are caught up in the infamous case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, which will make one of them rich beyond imagination—if it can ever be brought to a conclusion. In the sixth episode, Vholes pays a visit to Bleak House to appeal to Jarndyce's generosity in the hope that he will pay Richard's debts; Allan Woodcourt returns to town; and somebody shoots Tulkinghorn.
Online
2017; 2005
12.

Bleak House: Episode 2

This film adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel about the Victorian London legal system presents the beautiful Lady Dedlock who nurses a dark secret in her past, and the merciless lawyer Tulkinghorn who seeks to uncover it. Then there is the generous John Jarndyce, struggling with his past, and his two attractive young wards Richard and Ada. All of them are caught up in the infamous case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, which will make one of them rich beyond imagination—if it can ever be brought to a conclusion. In the second episode, Ada confides in Esther that she and Richard are in love; Richard considers becoming a doctor; and Alan Woodcourt takes a post a ship's surgeon.
Online
2017; 2005
13.

Henry IV: Parts 1 & 2 - Episode 1

This epic adaptation of William Shakespeare's two plays explores father-son relationships and relentless ambition. In episode one, King Henry IV laments his son’s behavior; Prince Hal promised to Change. This episode of Performance was filmed in 1995 stars and Ronald Pickup, Jonathan Firth, Rufus Sewell, and David Calder.
Online
2017; 1995
14.

Shakespeare in Perspective: Richard III

A personal view of the play presented by Rosemary Anne Sisson.
Online
2017; 1983
15.

Bleak House: Episode 4

This film adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel about the Victorian London legal system presents the beautiful Lady Dedlock who nurses a dark secret in her past, and the merciless lawyer Tulkinghorn who seeks to uncover it. Then there is the generous John Jarndyce, struggling with his past and his two attractive young wards Richard and Ada. All of them are caught up in the infamous case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, which will make one of them rich beyond imagination—if it can ever be brought to a conclusion. In the fourth episode, Sgt. George meets with Mr. Tulkinghorn to discuss his demands;Esther Summerson becomes ill; and Guppy investigates the names of Barnaby and Hawdon.
Online
2017; 2005
16.

Vanity Fair: Episode 4

This BBC television production is a serial adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's satire of English society during the Napoleonic wars. In the fourth episode, the Battle of Waterloo is about to begin. Brussels is in chaos and life is about to change for everyone.
Online
2017; 1998
17.

The Mystery of Charles Dickens

This one-man play is a tour de force that interweaves Dickens' turbulent life story with some of his most memorable fictional characters brought to life by Simon Callow's breathtaking performance.
Online
2017; 2002
18.

The Rivals

Sheridan’s first play draws on material from his own life—his scandalous marriage to a popular singer and the characters he knew in the town of Bath. His great satire turns the familiar world of arranged marriages, courtship, and rivalry on its head. One of the sharpest and funniest social comedies of the late eighteenth century is presented in the theatre built just nine years before the play was written in 1775.
Online
2017; 2004
19.

Vanity Fair: Episode 3

This BBC television production is a serial adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's satire of English society during the Napoleonic wars. In the third episode, Becky and Rawdon are short of money, but are being ignored by polite society.
Online
2017; 1998
20.

Shakespeare in Perspective: As You Like It

Brigid Brophy offers a personal view of the comedy As You Like It, which was originally an Elizabethan "best seller."
Online
2017; 1978