New Elizabethans with Andrew Marr – 14 December 2020 – 14/12/2020 – Monday – BBC Two

Building a New Society
New Elizabethans with Andrew MarrSeries 1 Episode 1 of 3

Andrew Marr examines the way Britain went from a rigid, deferential, hierarchical, patriarchal and class-obsessed society in the 1950s toward a more liberal, inclusive, egalitarian society in the latter part of the Queen’s reign. It is the story of the permissive society, of changing attitudes toward homosexuality, sexuality, gender and race, of a breaking down of class barriers and the growing equality won by women in the workplace.

But it isn’t an unfettered story of positivity and progress. Many liberties have been won at a cost and in the face of fierce criticism. This programme takes in both sides of that debate: the liberal victories of the ‘permissive society’ as well as the ferocious backlash of middle England at the perceived erosion of family values.

It is a film that delves into some unexpected stories – all of which shine a light on a society in flux. Andrew sees how Nancy Mitford’s light-hearted guide to the difference between upper-class and vulgar language sounded the death knell of an old world. He sees how a former cavalry officer, who reported the conquest of Everest by Hillary and Tenzing in 1953, proved a harbinger of perhaps the most radical change of the era as James Morris became Jan Morris – historian, journalist and a pioneering transgender role model for the new Elizabethan age.

Andrew also looks at the divergent lives of two women who made us confront our attitudes to gender, sexuality and power – movie starlet Diana Dors and wannabe movie starlet Ruth Ellis, who achieved fame of a completely different kind. And Andrew also sees how social upheaval – breaking class barriers and social/sexual taboos alike – was championed in Westminster by the likes of Roy Jenkins, reflected on our television screens and theatres by performers like Graham Chapman and rejected in the heart of middle England by moral crusaders like Mary Whitehouse.

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About New Elizabethans with Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr looks back at the extraordinary change of the Queen’s reign, selecting a diverse and fascinating range of ‘New Elizabethans’ who helped shape the nation we have become.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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