The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank

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The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank
Mon 5 Jun 8pm - 9pm BBC Four
See Repeats
Tue 6 Jun, 1:30am - 2:30am BBC Four


Dan Cruickshank introduces the young, shy Ludwig, a boy who loved to dress up as the figures from the murals adorning his father’s palace in Bavaria. His fantastical creations as an adult are steeped in these childhood visions. His castle at Neuschwanstein becomes a soaring, mist-ringed pleasure palace, a teeming opera set made real.

But these monuments are also windows into the king’s psychology. In his tomb-like bedroom, Ludwig has painted a gorgeous depiction of Tristan and Isolde – is this cautionary tale of earthly love designed to help the Swan King stifle his perceived homosexuality?


Documentary exploring the aesthetic styles associated with Ludwig II of Bavaria, the legendary king who was believed to be handsome and loved by his people. Dan Cruickshank investigates the mock-medievalism of Neuschwanstein castle and the complex design of Herrenchiemsee, to assess how they are key to learning more about the enigmatic ruler.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Dan Cruickshank
Executive Producer Basil Comely
Producer Alexander Leith