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Louise Welsh explores some of the most famous tales of murder and the medieval Scots Kings and asks how modern writers might tell them today. This week the story of James II, from traumatised child witness, to adult perpetrator of violence. Young James II was forced to witness one of the most famous murders under trust in Scottish history: the Black Dinner. Before his eyes, the young teenage Earl of Douglas and his younger brother were snatched from the banqueting table and beheaded by the King's guardians - despite the tears and pleas of the ten year old King. The King was supposed to learn a lesson and 'toughen up'. He certainly did. As an adult he became a murderer himself - bumping off yet another earl of Douglas in a shocking pack-attack with his courtiers. Prime material for shocking, bloody historical opera? Louise sets out with award winning opera composer Stuart MacRae to think how they could do 'James II - the Opera'. Historians Fiona Watson, Katie Stevenson, Michael Brown help Louise and Stuart understand the history and motives, while archaeologist Peter Yeoman from Historic Scotland takes them behind the scenes of Edinburgh Castle to the Black Dinner crime scene itself and into the depths of the walled-up medieval David's tower - a perfect setting for music to send chills up your spine.

28 minutes

Last on

Wed 25 Jun 2014 13:32
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