Empire Of The Sea Review: Making Waves
EMPIRE OF THE SEA – HOW THE NAVY FORGED THE MODERN WORLD: Friday 15th January, BBC 2, 9pm ALERT ME
Having fallen asleep in every history lesson I was ever in, I know very little about Britain’s turbulent backstory.
So I was going in pretty much blind when I watched Empire Of The Sea, a look back at the beginnings of the British Navy and the role it played in shaping a blossoming empire.
The show goes into depth about famed British Admiral Francis Drake and the control the empire had on the newly discovered Americas. Unfortunately, being a money-minded man, presenter Dan Snow describes how Drake was also one of the first men to trade in slaves. You may also be surprised to learn exactly how it was that Drake incurred the wrath of Spain, which of course lead to the creation and subsequent destruction of the Spanish Armada.
Dan doesn’t go into the gory details of ship life but instead concentrates on the strategy and politics of the times and how the British fleet was impacting the world. I was interested to learn how involved Samuel Pepys was in the forming of a disciplined Navy and how wars at sea impacted Royalty but I wasn’t blown away.
New historical go-to guy Dan presents the story of Britain with genuine enthusiasm. His gusto comes in handy because the show lacks any kind of juicy recreations and there’s not one peg leg, pirate or parrot to be seen.
The show is very informative but lacks a fun, personal look that could have made it a touch more palatable, however, Dan Snow is a more than competent presenter who is a nice break from stuffy professor types lecturing us. I’ll definitely be tuning in for episode 2.