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S1-E2 Metalworks! - The Knight's Tale

S1-E2 Metalworks! - The Knight's Tale

Wednesday 12:10am - 1:10am BBC Four


As a young prince, Henry VIII was forbidden from jousting. But after he’d ascended the throne in 1509, Henry was free to indulge his passion, and built an entire armoury workshop in south London, bringing in top craftsmen from Germany to create engraved and etched suits of armour fit for a modern monarch.

Armour is clearly close to the heart of presenter Tobias “I’ve been jousting for 20 years” Capwell, curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection, who charts the development of the “Greenwich style” with an enthusiasm verging on the fetishistic, gazing longingly at suits made for Henry and a gorgeously gilded number designed for one of Elizabeth I’s champions.


Tobias Capwell explores how Henry VIII combined German technology with Renaissance artistry in his quest to conform to the image of the perfect knight. He also reveals how the monarch's daughter, Elizabeth I, exploited the image further by making her courtiers parade before her in the most innovative and richly decorated suits of armour ever commissioned in steel.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Tobias Capwell
Director Ben McPherson
Executive Producer Franny Moyle

Education Documentary

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