Upcoming BBC factual programmes to explore votes for women, house history and the Commonwealth


01 November 2017
3b17781r-35860.jpg Votes for Women, a new programme with Lucy Worsley. Image copyright Library of Congress, accession number LC-USZ62-70384
The BBC has announced details of forthcoming programmes featuring presenters including Lucy Worsley and Lenny Henry, on topics including local history and the votes for women campaign.

The BBC has announced details of forthcoming programmes featuring presenters including Lucy Worsley and Lenny Henry, on topics including local history and the votes for women campaign.

The shows, which have recently been commissioned by BBC factual commissioning controller Alison Kirkham, are currently in production and slated to be broadcast during 2018. All programme titles mentioned are working titles.

How Women Won The Vote With Lucy Worsley (BBC One)

February 2018 will mark 100 years of women in the UK being allowed to vote. Today in Britain, this democratic act feels like a basic human right, but as Lucy Worsley will reveal in this 90 minute special, the battle that women had to wage for this right was complex and hard-fought.

Using original source materials to piece together a retelling of the forgotten stories from this period of history, Lucy will explore the range of people who fought for the vote - young and old, rich and poor, men and women, from all over the country - some of whom decided to go against every rule and expectation that Victorian society had about them.

She will reveal what life was like as a Suffragette whose every move was tracked by a special police unit, explore the horrific prison conditions that these women were sentenced to as well tell the story of unsung heroes and heroines who helped women to reach equality at the ballot box by peaceful means.

With the help of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles and formerly classified documents, Lucy will immerse us in the story of women on the run from the police, hunger strikes, arson, harassment campaigns and family fall outs on one side with espionage, force feeding, news media bias, police surveillance and government interference on the other, painting a 'vivid and timely' depiction of this landmark moment in British History.

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Lenny Henry: The Commonwealth Kid (BBC One)

Sir Lenny Henry is Dudley born, but Jamaica bred. He considers himself a Commonwealth Kid, born to Jamaican parents who came to the UK as part of the post-Windrush generation in 1957.

Always fascinated with his own heritage and the Commonwealth, in this film Lenny will examine the deep-rooted relationship between the crown, the Commonwealth and its 2.3 billion people. It’s an issue close to his heart and a subject he feels deeply passionate about. 

Lenny will set off on a tour of the Caribbean visiting the Bahamas and his homeplace of Jamaica to hear what the Commonwealth means to the people who actually reside there. In this funny and fascinating journey into the body, mind and soul of the Caribbean, Lenny will investigate the experiences of those who live so far from the UK, but remain members of this vast and populous club.

From street vendors to government officials and teachers to students, he will examine the special bond that exists between the people of the Caribbean and the UK, a microcosm of the wider relationship between all of the people of the Commonwealth.

The House (BBC Two)

Presented by David Olusoga, The House is a new history series for BBC Two, which tells the story of a single Georgian-style townhouse from the time it was built in 1840 until the present day.

Beginning on the steps of the four-storey home in Liverpool, David traces the lives of the house’s many residents across 200 years of history. Using painstaking detective work - professional records and archives, contemporary documents and the help of expert witnesses the series uncovers the stories of the individuals and families who lived in this Grade II-listed terraced house, from the fashionable merchant who first moved in during the early 1840s to the dockers who lived there at the height of the Liverpool Blitz.

Over the course of four episodes, The House will paint a unique portrait of Britain - one that connects a single house to the fortunes of a city, a nation and ultimately the wider world, and how history affects its residents.

Knitting together the intimate and the grand, the detective work will paint the house’s residents onto a greater canvas of history as the residents are affected by changes in global politics, economics and immigration.

Kensington (BBC Two)

Kensington is a part of Britain like no other. In just five square miles, you can find £40 million pound mansions, high-rise tower blocks, extreme wealth, and those struggling to get by. More so than anywhere else in Britain, it is a borough where extremes live side by side.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, this film asks: how did Kensington become home to such inequality? It’s a tale that will be told by Kensington's own residents. This is their story, full of insights and revelations, as they discover the forces that have made this unique place what it is today.

Delving back over a century in time, they’ll reveal the surprising evolution of the area from the late nineteenth century to the present day, taking the long view on how this part of London developed.

And by telling the story of how this small section of London grew up, the film will tell a bigger story about the growth of power, wealth and property in Britain over the last century.

For more on BBC factual programmes, visit the BBC website.