The Mayflower Pilgrims: Behind the Myth

The Mayflower Pilgrims: Behind the Myth


Roger Rees, who died last year (the programme is dedicated to him) plays William Bradford, one of America’s founding fathers in this absorbing drama documentary.

As Americans sit down to their turkey dinners to celebrate Thanksgiving, The Mayflower Pilgrims: Behind the Myth goes through Bradford’s vivid journals to piece together a picture of that epic voyage that started in Plymouth in 1620, with 102 passengers bound for the New World.

The little group were religious fundamentalists who wanted to worship unfettered and without fear. But they paid a heavy price, the voyage was dreadful, the boat was buffeted by storms and supplies very quickly ran low. And as for that Thanksgiving feast – it probably never happened.


Drama-documentary exploring the truth behind the story of William Bradford and the Mayflower pilgrims, whose voyage to America in the early 17th century is celebrated in the US every year as Thanksgiving. The programme explores the circumstances that compelled them to leave Europe and the ugly reality behind the famous story of their arrival in the new world.

Cast & Crew

William Bradford Roger Rees
William Bradford (child) Josh Webb
William Bradford (teen) Jos Brown
John Robinson James Thorne
William Brewster Matthew Jure
Richard Clyfton Howard Lee
Director Ric Burns
Writer Ric Burns
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