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OU on the BBC: Romantics - About the series

Updated Thursday, 8th December 2005

Find out more about the BBC/OU's television series looking at the Romantic movement in history, presented by historical writer Peter Ackroyd.

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Actors portraying the Romantics and Peter Ackroyd Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

This three part television series, presented by eminent historical writer Peter Ackroyd, Romantics explores the turbulent story of the pioneers of modern imagination: their private pleasures, personal dreams and political passions.

Between 1760 and 1830 the imaginations of a few individuals re-ordered human perception. English poets such as William Blake and Lord Byron were are the forefront of this movement. It has since become known as the Romantic Revolution.

With this revolution God, Church and abolute monarchy would be displaced from the centre of society and replaced by the visions and desires of the individual. Our modern fundamental perceptions spring from this revolutionary period - our ideas of equality and freedom - our notion of childhood - of the unconscious and our belief in the power of words and images to change the world.

The series follows the growth of the Romantic idea through three episodes: Liberty, Nature, and Eternity. The main focus is the work and lives of some of the giants of the Romantic movement, William Blake, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The main character however, is the idea itself, how it is relayed, how it affects change in people and in the world itself.

This is the biography of an Idea. Find out more in our programme summaries.






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