Armada - 12 Days to Save England

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12 Days to Save England

Series 1 - Episode 1 12 Days to Save England

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Review

The first of Dan Snow’s three-parter comes with a health warning: avoid the reconstructions. I know it’s a regular gripe with history docs but here the strange dramatised scenes designed to conjure up a sense of Elizabeth I (played by Anita Dobson, no less) and her courtiers feel like they belong to another series entirely.

So ignore them – or fast-forward – and enjoy Dan Snow’s informative tutorials instead. With the help of recently uncovered letters between the Spanish commanders he gets us into the heat of the battle, and the mixture of pluck and luck that in the summer of 1588 saved England from an attack by 125 Spanish ships. But only just.

Summary

Three-part documentary about the sinking of the Spanish Armada, featuring dramatic reconstructions and information gleaned from recently recovered documents. Dan Snow boards a yacht on the English channel to get a sense of the naval battle, revealing how tensions between England and Spain were fuelled by religion, piracy and Elizabeth I's rejection of King Philip II of Spain as a suitor 30 years earlier, and how a missed opportunity could have resulted in disaster. Featuring Anita Dobson as the queen.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Dan Snow
Anita Dobson
Philip Cox
Rupert Frazer
Crispin Redman
Iain Fletcher
Dominic Jephcott
Joseph Balderrama
Alun Raglan
Phoebe Thomas
Gwenyth Petty
Zeh Prado
Executive Producer Cameron Balbirnie
Series Producer Robin Dashwood
Writer Robin Dashwood
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Documentary History