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Preview: The Last Days of Charles I

11121500845_f13fb0870e_bThe Last Days… is a new series on Channel 5 which looks at the final moments of the lives of a variety of notorious and infamous characters in history. Tonight’s episode looks particularly at the final days of Charles I, the King who faced Civil Wars, was overthrown by parliament and executed in January 1649.

Whilst Charles I reigned for over twenty years in the seventeenth century, his Kingship was one of turmoil and frustration between the crown and the parliament. Charles went on to conduct personal rule, much to the agitation of his ministers and his public. In 1642 Charles and parliament finally met at loggerheads and dived into civil war, which was to dominate England’s landscape for the rest of the 1640s and became England’s bloodiest conflict to date.

In this episode, actor and writer Mark Gatiss, human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson and historian Dr Hannah Dawson all give their opinions and expertise into the events that dominated the 1640s and eventually led to the execution of a King. In a discussion which is still debated to this day among historians, the contributors will deliberate whether Charles saw himself to be a royal martyr, who stood up for and died for his beliefs and his royalist cause, or whether he was in fact mistaken, and was an absolutist King who defied the traditional ideas of monarchy.

Ian Hoyle will also contribute through his portrayal of Oliver Cromwell, one of a number of parliamentarians who signed the King’s death warrant, and later went on to become Protector during the 1650s.

The Last Days of Charles I will air on Channel 5 at 8pm on Thursday 23rd April. It will also be repeated at 9pm on Channel 5+1. It will then be available to watch online on Demand 5 soon after the initial broadcast.

The Last Days of Charles I was directed by Ben Mole, produced by Katie Greening, and the executive producers were Susan Jones, Nicholas Kent and Melanie Darlaston.

photo credit: Image taken from page 239 of ‘Pictures and Royal Portraits illustrative of English and Scottish History … With descriptive … sketches’ via photopin (license)