New Elizabethans with Andrew Marr – 17 December 2020 – 17/12/2020 – Thursday – BBC Two

Made in Britain
New Elizabethans with Andrew Marr Series 1 Episode 3 of 3

In the final episode, Andrew looks at one of the greatest challenges faced by modern Elizabethans: the loss of Britain’s manufacturing heartlands and the surprising impact it has had on the state of the nation. To tell this story, he selects a rich cast of characters who have – in his estimation – responded to the challenges and found ingenious ways of adapting to the changing industrial landscape.

When the Queen ascended the throne in 1952, the country she inherited could still be defined by its manufacturing bases: Sheffield steel, Cornish tin, Welsh coal and Clyde-built ships. Britain in 1952 was, after all, still one of the workshops of the world, if no longer the primary one. Manufacturing accounted for a third of everything that Britain produced, and employed around four in ten of all British workers. Britain turned out a quarter of the entire world’s manufacturing exports. But over the next 40 years, all that would change.

For Andrew, the decline in Britain’s heavy industries has had a critical impact in shaping the nation we have become. He investigates the various reasons behind it, arguing that it is not down to a lack of talent. From Christopher Cockerell to Clive Sinclair, the New Elizabethans have demonstrated extraordinary imagination and innovation, even if this hasn’t always been successfully capitalised upon.

But this is not a story of failure – it’s a story of adaptation. Andrew shows how over the course of the Queen’s reign, we Elizabethans have learnt from the lessons of the past. He looks at how inventors like James Dyson have built up billion-pound empires, and, crucially, he examines how the British brand has become about more than motorcars and machines: as our heavy industries of old have declined, we have found other industries and other exports, like the songs of Dusty Springfield or the buildings of Zaha Hadid. He argues that British culture and creativity have become perhaps our most valuable assets, from advertising and architectural design to music and monarchy.

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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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