Music And Monarchy: David Starkey switches over to BBC for new series


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Historian David Starkey is making his first TV series for the BBC after more than a decade presenting for Channel 4.

The presenter and historian will front a new four-part series for BBC2 about examining the connections between classical music and the royal family.

Starkey, 68, has hosted a number of programmes for Channel 4 dating back to his 1998 series about Henry VIII.

In the early 2000s he was reported to have a deal with C4 worth around £2 million to write 25 hours of television, including an 18-part series on the British monarchy.

But following last year's programme about the Churchill family, the station said it had nothing further in production with Starkey, although they were discussing ideas.

He will front Music And Monarchy, to be shown this spring, which shows the close connections between composers, musicians and royalty.

The programmes will look at familiar compositions and more obscure pieces which will be performed live at the historic locations for which they were originally composed, including Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St Paul's Cathedral.

It will span six centuries from Henry V to our present Queen, featuring composers such as Tallis, Purcell, Handel, Parry and Elgar.

Starkey said; "Making this series has been a delight - it has forced me to see historical problems, familiar to me as a political historian, in a quite unexpected light.

"It has also been an anecdotal pleasure - music speaks to monarchs and elicits some surprising replies."

In 2011 Starkey caused a furore following a BBC appearance on Newsnight, which prompted accusations of racism. Appearing as part of a discussion about that summer's riots and looting, he said: "The problem is that the whites have become black."

His new BBC2 series coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.