Television news

Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley

Monday 4th June 8.30pm on BBC One

2018 marks 100 years since the first women over the age of 30, who owned property, were allowed to vote in the UK. The fight for the vote was about much more than just the Pankhurst family or Emily Davison's fateful collision with the King's horse. In this film, Lucy is at the heart of the drama, alongside a group of less well known, but equally astonishing, young working-class suffragettes who decided to go against every rule and expectation that Edwardian society had about them.

Lucy explores the actions of these women as their campaign becomes more and more dangerous, while their own words are delivered in simple but strikingly emotive pieces of dramatised testimony. Lucy also tells this story from a range of iconic original locations, from the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street to the Savoy Hotel, and has access to an amazing range of artefacts, from hunger-striking medals to defused bombs and private letters between the government and the press.

In this Edwardian history drama, Lucy and her group of suffragettes from the Women's Social Political Union reveal what life was like for these young women, as she follows the trail of increasingly illegal and dangerous acts they would end up committing.

Lucy investigates what drove them to break the law, to the prison conditions they experienced, including violent force feedings and the subsequent radicalisation of these women that occurred, driving them to more and more extreme actions.

The decisive and largely negative role that members of Parliament played is unpacked, as they would throw out numerous attempts to give women the vote. The role of the police is explored, both in the ways in which the suffragettes' demonstrations were handled and the covert and sometimes violent tactics that were used against them.

 

“This gripping and historically detailed drama-documentary brilliantly recalled the violence and the valour of the suffrage movement.” 5 stars - Julia Raeside, The Guardian

“Lucy Worsley is the best history presenter on TV” - Gerard Gilbert, The I

“The dramatisations were vivid and handsome, with Worsley rubbing shoulders with the suffragettes as they spat at coppers and chained themselves to railings. All credit to the director, Emma Frank, for making Worsley’s sharp mind and lust for dressing up seem like the most natural of bedfellows.” 4 stars - Chris Bennion, The Times

“100 years on this programme gave the suffragettes the one thing they once lacked and the only thing they wanted – a voice.” - Benji Wilson, The Telegraph

Watch the show here