Melvyn Bragg’s Radical Lives – Melvyn Bragg explores the lives and work of two extraordinary men, both of whom tried to uproot the systems in which they found themselves, and both of whom have left an enduring radical legacy through their actions and their language.
John Ball was a cleric at the heart of the class rebellion against the medieval feudal system, more commonly known as The Peasant’s Revolt. He was the intellectual inspiration of the rebels which ultimately led to his imprisonment and execution. But his words ring down the centuries, taken up by rebels through the ages, echoing in the Civil War and still found today.
Thomas Paine’s Rights Of Man and The Age of Reason were a key intellectual influence on the American Revolution which brought independence from Britain, and he charged British radical thinking throughout the 18th century. His arguments also played a pivotal role in the French Revolution and inspired other writers of the day. His influence – both literary and political – has continued long after his death.
Producer: Directors Cut Production
Source: BBC press release