James Naughtie

The New Elizabethans
  • The New Elizabethans

  • James Naughtie examines the lives and impact of the men and women who have given the second Elizabethan Age its character

    As the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II has presided over an era of tremendous social, political and cultural change. In 2012, to mark her Diamond Jubilee, Radio 4 looked back on the long span of her reign, and asked the public to choose high-profile public figures who have helped to define this New Elizabethan Age. Almost a thousand nominations poured in, and the final selection was decided by a panel of leading writers and historians, including Dominic Sandbrook, Bamber Gascoigne and Max Hastings.

    In this celebratory collection, distinguished broadcaster James Naughtie profiles 37 of these iconic individuals. They come from all walks of life - from artists and scientists like David Hockney and Francis Crick, to business legends such as Alan Sainsbury and Anita Roddick, politicians including Roy Jenkins, Tony Blair and Alex Salmond, and even a member of the Royal Family: Diana, Princess of Wales. Some are world-famous, others less well-known, and there are several surprising choices - and a few controversial ones. But all have made their mark on our nation, for good or ill.

    Here are fascinating portraits of mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, whose conquest of Everest was announced on the day of the Queen's coronation; Elizabeth David, the food writer who brought European cuisine to British tables; leading thinker on British culture, race and identity Stuart Hall; renowned English composer Benjamin Britten; the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee - and many more, whose achievements and influence will stand the test of time. Together, they shine a light on postwar Britain, illuminating how our society has evolved over the seven decades since Queen Elizabeth II's accession.

    Production credits
    Presented by James Naughtie
    Produced by James Cook, Sukey Firth, Clare Walker, Sarah Taylor, Alison Hughes, Poppy Goodheart and Kate Howells

    First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the following dates:

    Edmund Hilary 11 June 2012
    Elizabeth David 12 June 2012
    Graham Greene 13 June 2012
    Michael Young 14 June 2012
    Vladimir Raitz 15 June 2012
    Francis Crick 18 June 2012
    Alan Sainsbury 20 June 2012
    Benjamin Britten 25 June 2012
    Dorothy Hodgkin 26 June 2012
    Alfred Denning 4 July 2012
    Paul Foot 5 July 2012
    Francis Bacon 6 July 2012
    Peter Hall 12 July 2012
    Terence Conran 13 July 2012
    Enoch Powell 16 July 2012
    Cicely Saunders 17 July 2012
    Basil D'Oliveira 19 July 2012
    Germaine Greer 23 July 2012
    Robert Edwards 24 July 2012
    Jack Jones 26 July 2012
    Talaiasi Labalaba 31 July 2012
    Jocelyn Bell Burnell 2 August 2012
    Roy Jenkins 3 August 2012
    Vivienne Westwood 6 August 2012
    Jayaben Desai 7 August 2012
    Stuart Hall 9 August 2012
    David Hockney 14 August 2012
    Ralph Robins 16 August 2012
    Anita Roddick 21 August 2012
    Norman Foster 22 August 2012
    Charles Saatchi 23 August 2012
    Goldie 24 August 2012
    John Hume/David Trimble 27 August 2012
    Tim Berners-Lee 29 August 2012
    Diana, Princess of Wales 30 August 2012
    Alex Salmond 31 August 2012
    Tony Blair 3 September 2012

    © 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.

James Naughtie is one of the BBC's best-known journalists and broadcasters. As well as his work in news journalism, including presenting The World at One and Today, he has introduced music programmes on BBC radio and television for many years. He also presents Radio 4's monthly Bookclub and a variety of live events, including election specials at home and from the United States. His journalistic career began in Aberdeen, in his native North-east Scotland, and he was chief political correspondent of The Scotsman and The Guardian before joining the BBC in 1988. He was Laurence M. Stern Fellow on The Washington Post as well as Sony Radio Personality of the Year. Among his books are The Making of Music and two acclaimed accounts of the Blair years, The Rivals and The Accidental American.

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