The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Get Action (1858-1901)

Series 1 - Episode 1 Get Action (1858-1901)



You’d be hard-pressed to find a British equivalent of the American Roosevelt family. Patrician New Yorkers who rose to the top of the political tree, Theodore, his distant cousin Franklin and Eleanor (Teddy’s niece, and Franklin’s wife) all overcame considerable problems to achieve high office, combining fierce ambition with an equally fierce desire to champion the lot of the working man. As one commentator here puts it, “they delighted in the power of their office to do good.”

The first episode of master documentary-maker Ken Burns’s series exhaustively burrows into the life of Teddy, a sickly child who by sheer force of will became an energetic sportsman and hunter, yet against family custom chose to enter politics rather than banking or business. It’s dense, but absolutely fascinating.


Documentary chronicling the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. In the first episode, Theodore is born and, despite being sickly as a child, enjoys early successes in the academic and political worlds. With the voices of Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti and Edward Herrmann.

Cast & Crew

Voice of Eleanor Roosevelt Meryl Streep
Voice of Theodore Roosevelt Paul Giamatti
Voice of Franklin Roosevelt Edward Herrmann