Al Murray: Why Does Everyone Hate the English?
Comedian AL MURRAY goes to battle to find out about historical grievances against the english
HISTORY History HD, 9pm
Al Murray finds out about England’s feuds with its neighbours, starting with lessons from Antoine de Caunes in France.
FACTUAL Al Murray: Why Does everyone Hate the english?
Monday, History HD, 9pm ALTHOUGH BEST KNOWN for his jingoistic comedy creation The Pub Landlord, comedian Al Murray has always been an avid historian. In his new light-hearted series, he visits England’s nearest neighbours, starting with France, to delve into historic feuds and simmering resentments to find out why the English seem to be unpopular.
Covering everything from the Battle of Waterloo to famous inventions, Murray teams up with European comedians to engage in some lively patriotic debate.
Here, Murray tells us more…
WHERE DOES THE SERIES TAKE YOU? As well as France, I go to Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Germany. I meet Fred Macaulay in Scotland, who is a Scottish national treasure, Elis James, a very proud Welshman, Andrew Maxwell in Dublin and Henning Wehn in Germany. We kick about some of the
antagonisms between our countries. They’re all quite patriotic but can also see the nonsense in a lot of it.
WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO THIS
WEEK? I meet Antoine de Caunes, who people may remember from Eurotrash. He’s a massive star in France and a huge fan of Napoleon. He’s even made a feature film about him. The French have always been very cross about the way the English treated Napoleon after the Battle of
Waterloo, so we visit Napoleon’s tomb and
Antoine takes me to a French science museum, which is full of inventions the
French claim are theirs.
DID THAT SPARK A DEBATE?
Yes, Antoine is absolutely adamant it was a Frenchman, René Barthélemy, who invented TV, whereas I’m absolutely adamant that John Logie Baird invented it in London. That’s the Anglofrench relationship for you. Two people going, ‘No, it was OUR idea, you idiot!’ to each other. WHAT OTHER HISTORICAL EVENTS HAVE RILED THE FRENCH? Another huge beef the French have with the English is the Battle of Agincourt, where Henry V had all the French knights he’d captured murdered rather than ransomed. That’s a huge source of grievance – it was only 600 years ago, but whatever! We talk about the archers at Agincourt while having a go ourselves. I have to say Antoine didn’t seem that fussed about the Battle of Agincourt but he was very bothered that
I beat him at archery.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU GET UP TO? In Scotland, we did the Highland charge, where you take your kilt off and run down a hill in your shirt. That provided a refreshing breeze where normally there isn’t one. I also visited the Llyn Celyn reservoir in Wales, which was a huge bone of contention. An entire Welsh village was flooded to create a reservoir to provide water for Liverpool. All the residents were kicked out and you can now have a fun time white-water rafting by the reservoir, which seems a bit wrong.
AL MURRAY HEARS ALL ABOUT NAPOLEON ON HIS TRIP TO FRANCE
MURRAY AND ANTOINE DE CAUNES MEET SOME CAN-CAN DANCERS IN SCOTLAND WITH FRED MACAULAY