Producer Beaty Rubens introduces a new, extended series of The Essay on Radio 3 – three blocks of ten episodes stretching in to 2013, the first series beginning on Monday 15th October.
I was interested in the Anglo-Saxons –
that wasn’t the problem. In fact, I had attended a primary school
called King Alfred’s, and even today could sketch you the school logo
– a wonky little line drawing of Alfred, seated on a throne, wearing a
sort of Anglo-Saxon dress and pointy shoes and holding up a book to show
off his passion for education. Which is ironic, really, because
education – or my lack of it – on the subject was exactly why I felt so
unqualified to produce a 30-part series called Anglo-Saxon Portraits.
I knew something about the Celts and the Romans and the
Tudors, but the half millennium between the departure of the Romans and
the arrival of the Normans was a shocking blank. Perhaps the
Anglo-Saxons just weren’t much taught in the 50 years after the War,
when the idea of Aryan and Germanic invaders wasn’t all that
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