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Preview: Armada – 12 Days to Save England

Anita Dobson plays Queen Elizabeth I in this new BBC Two documentary series.

Anita Dobson plays Queen Elizabeth I in this new BBC Two documentary series.

In this new major documentary series on BBC Two, historian Dan Snow takes viewers through the days leading up to what could be argued as one of the pinnacle events of Elizabeth I’s reign – the Spanish Armada.

In this three-part series, Dan Snow demonstrates the tactics used by the English at sea during the summer of 1588 which helped to fend off the threat from the Spanish.

This series takes a closer look at some newly found documents which reveal more evidence about the Spanish Armada itself and exposes how the Armada may have failed to take advantage of the situation which could have led to their victory at sea.

The new documents include letters from Spanish naval commanders, which include a great deal of information about the heart of the battle itself.

By using dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to the Armada, with Anita Dobson in the role of Elizabeth I, this series takes a closer look at the religious reasons behind the declaration of war between England and Spain in 1585, and how these factors later led to the launch of the Armada. With this, Dan Snow also reveals how Philip II of Spain’s proposal to Elizabeth and her consequent rejection in the early months of her reign may have sparked the difficult relations between the two kingdoms from the outset of Elizabeth’s reign.

This series also discusses piracy and the expansion of both the Spanish and English territories in the New World, and how these aggravated relations between the two European powers.

The first episode of the series airs on Sunday 24th May at 9pm on BBC Two. This episode will be available to watch online soon after the initial broadcast.

The rest of the series will be broadcast on consecutive Sundays following the 24th May.

The series was produced and directed by Robin Dashwood. The executive producer was Cameron Balbirnie.

Photo Credit: BBC/Mark Edger

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