The Stuarts & The Stuarts in Exile DVD (Spirit Entertainment, £12.99)
Forget the Tudors, Hanoverians and Windsors – the royal dynasty that most defined Britain was the Stuarts. That, at least, is the view of Clare Jackson of the University of Cambridge, as laid out in two BBC series now compiled for DVD.
Her argument is largely based on the way the family had to grapple, with varying degrees of success, with the problem of uniting peoples who saw themselves as belonging to the different kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. It was a task that began when James VI of Scotland headed south to become James I of England following the death of Elizabeth I. Whereas James tried to cajole his subjects into seeing themselves as British, his son, Charles I, was highhanded in his attempts to impose political and religious uniformity, helping to spark an era of civil wars. Even after the Restoration, tensions continued – in part because the Stuarts’ own religious schisms mirrored those of the nations they were trying to unite. Jackson charts a huge sweep of events with aplomb and, in series that have perhaps been rather overlooked, makes you wish we saw more Stuart history on TV.
Clare Jackson joins Civil War battle re-enactors in The Stuarts, part of a newly compiled DVD set