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Ian Hislop's Changing of the Bard
BBC4 - 16 May 2009
Ian Hislop takes an amused and affecting look at one of the most peculiar offices in the British establishment, that of Poet Laureate. Its 341-year history produces a gloriously eccentric picture of who we are, how we are ruled, what we want to say about ourselves and just how hard it is to do that in verse.
We know that Poets Laureate write about Royal Weddings but Hislop discovers a whole lot more, such as 534, John Masefield's brilliant poem on the launch of the Queen Mary from the Clydebank shipyards and Nicholas Rowe's New Year's Ode for 1716 dedicated to the Princess of Wales's labour pains. There was Colley Cibber, the Laureate so ashamed of his poor output he adopted a pseudonym and wrote poems attacking himself, and Alfred Tennyson, who wrote the nation's favourite laureate poem, Charge of the Light Brigade.
The film also throws light on the shadowy process by which the appointment is made. Lord Gowrie, the arts minister in Mrs Thatcher's cabinet, reveals how Ted Hughes came to be her choice for Laureate, when many people were still damning him for his wife Sylvia Plath's suicide.
File Name .............: Ian Hislop's Changing of the Bard (16 May 2009)[PDTV(XviD)].avi
File Size (in bytes) ..: 489,771,008 bytes
Runtime (# of frames) .: 59:21.960 (89049 frames)
Video Codec ...........: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Frame Size ............: 624x352 [=1.773]
FPS ...................: 25.000
Video Bitrate .........: 956 kb/s
Bits per Pixel ........: 0.174 bpp
B-VOP, N-VOP, QPel, GMC ......: [B-VOP].........
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