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A dark description of life in the Bastille prison of Paris begins this short piece. The testimony is read from the memoirs of Jean Jacques Calet in 1800, a prisoner who was kept in solitary confinement and was never taken to trial. He was never to see his wife and child again. They were forced to beg on the streets and they died before he gained his release. There is also a good introduction to the role and extent of power exerted by the King in France. As such, stories like that of Calet served to stir public emotion against the King and the Bastille became a symbol of their oppression and inequality - the early seeds of Revolution that came to fruition on 14 July 1789 were sown.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
13 January 2009

Classroom Ideas

Students could use this clip to compare and contrast the rights of man today and of that described in the clip. They could also look at the usefulness of Calet's testimony as a prisoner and a witness: does that make him reliable? There is also cross-curricular use with Citizenship.