The history of men and masculinity is now at the cutting edge of scholarship. In conversation with historians, Amanda asks: Where did these ideals of how men should behave come from? How influential were they on the lives and careers of real men? And what did women make of them?
The series begins in the Middle Ages and ends in the 1950s. The first programme, The Knight, begins on location in Pembroke Castle with crusader historian Tom Asbridge. In the second Amanda explores the Gentleman, an ideal of refinement and culture which has its roots in Renaissance Italy. In the third, she explores the 18th century Lover: from irresistible seducer to lusty husband. Next, the Sailor. From the defeat of the Armada to the Battle of Trafalgar the sailor was the most virile poster boy of British manhood. Fourth, the rugged explorers of the 19th and early 20th century still fascinate us. One in particular is burned, or rather frozen, into the national consciousness: Captain Scott. Finally, Amanda ends her series in the 1950s, with a post-war generation of men trying to make it into positions of power in the British establishment. This is the era of Madmen, but with a very different British setting.
6th August – 10th September 2012, BBC Radio 4.