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Fact or Fiction

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Tony Robinson uncovers the real stories behind some of the greatest figures in history

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Tony Robinson uncovers the real stories behind some of the greatest figures in history

  • Fact or Fiction: Richard III

    Tony Robinson sifts the facts from the fiction about one of Britain's most maligned monarchs, Richard III. Did he really murder his two young nephews before usurping the throne?

  • Fact or Fiction: Boudica

    Tony Robinson continues his quest to uncover the real lives and histories behind some of our greatest legendary heroes. Famous for her long red hair, her chariot with blades on its wheels and her fight for justice and independence over the brutal Romans, Tony goes in search of the first iron lady of Britain - Boudica.

    Boudica has come to symbolise the indomitable strength of Britain, but as Tony retraces her incredible path from her home in Norfolk to Colchester, London and on to her final stand in the Midlands, he discovers a different story. It is the story of the real queen Boudica; a Roman collaborator who was prone to extreme, disorganised violence and disturbing Druidic rituals.

  • Fact or Fiction: Braveheart

    Tony Robinson goes on the trail of William Wallace, the Scottish warrior whose story was told in the film Braveheart. But tracking down the man behind the myth proves difficult, as Tony is led into a complex story of murder, treason and war atrocities very different from the swashbuckling tale known to Mel Gibson fans.

  • Fact or Fiction: King Harold

    Tony Robinson reveals the real story behind the last great Anglo Saxon king. Far from being just the loser at the Battle of Hastings, Harold was a charismatic leader who, but for a cruel twist of fate would be regarded today as a national hero. It was after all, Harold that led the English into battle at Stamford Bridge and brought an end to the Viking invasions.

    He was a chivalrous man, a true diplomat and skilled military strategist. The programme also reveals how he really met his death and the location of his grave, his devotion to his wife and his love of hawking. King Harold's rise to power is a dynastic tragedy of deception, murder and betrayal.

  • Fact or Fiction: Robin Hood

    There are few legends more famous than that of Robin Hood, the dispossessed nobleman hiding out in Sherwood Forest at the time of Richard the Lionheart.

    Tony embarks on a quest to uncover the fact behind the fiction. Did Robin actually exist? What was he really like? Did he steal from the rich to give to the poor? Who were the merry men?

    Tony's journey takes him all over England: from Yorkshire to Shropshire, Warwickshire, Kirklees Priory; to investigate the colourful legend of Robin's death; and, eventually, Sherwood Forest.

    With the help of historic records, expert contributions and ancient ballads, Tony lines up four main suspects tying them into relevant historical events, such as the proliferation of the longbow and the Lancastrian Revolt.

  • Tony Robinson's Romans: Caligula

    Was the Roman emperor Caligula a power-mad tyrant, or a complex autocrat threatened by all parts of the Empire?

  • Tony Robinson's Romans: Julius Caesar Part 1

    Julius Caesar is one of the monumental figures of history. He forged the role of Emperor and was worshipped as a brilliant general and reformer, but he was killed by the people who knew him best.

    To understand this apparent paradox, Tony Robinson travels to Rome, Egypt, Greece, France and beyond to investigate the epic life and death of one of the most complex, driven people in human history.

  • Tony Robinson's Romans: Julius Caesar Part 2

    Tony Robinson concludes his 2000-mile quest to chronicle the definitive history of Julius Caesar, exploring how he became powerful enough to bring an end to Rome's centuries-old system of democracy and become the first in a long line of Emperors.

    The programme explores how Caesar forced sweeping changes through the Senate - from reducing unemployment to inventing July - and chronicles his great military victories and his famous relationship with Cleopatra.

    Tony follows in the Emperor's footsteps on the Ides of March, 44BC, finding out whether William Shakespeare's assertion that he died on the steps of the Senate uttering 'Et tu Brute?' is fact or fiction.

  • Tony Robinson's Romans: Nero

    Tony Robinson uncovers the truth about Rome's most infamous emperor. Nero was just 16 when he assumed power, and was treated like a rock star: a glamorous, young figure cutting a dash through his court.

    But away from the adulation, his life had taken on all the elements of a soap opera, as his mother was found murdered after a rift over a mistress.

    Tony explains the origins of the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burns, and how he alienated generals, the Senate and the Praetorian Guard, through his own actions and also inadvertently.

Fact or Fiction synopsis

Tony Robinson uncovers the real stories behind some of the greatest figures in history

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9 Episodes