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Ian Hislop's Scouting for Boys

Ian Hislop uncovers the story behind the book which kick-started the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell's handbook Scouting for Boys, written in 1908.

Robert Baden-Powell's handbook Scouting for Boys, written in 1908, may be largely forgotten today, but it is one of the most influential and best-selling books of all time. In the 20th century, only the Bible, the Koran and the Thoughts of Chairman Mao sold more. But they had fewer jokes, no pictures and were useless at important stuff like tying knots.

In this entertaining and affectionate film, Ian Hislop uncovers the story behind the book which kick-started the Scout Movement - a work which is very eccentric, very Edwardian and very British.

Ian discovers that the book is actually very radical and addresses all sorts of issues that we think of as modern, such as citizenship, disaffected youth and social responsibility. He explores the maverick brilliance of Baden-Powell, a national celebrity after his heroism in the Boer War, and considers the book's candid focus on health and wellbeing - from the importance of what Baden-Powell called a 'daily rear' to his infamous warning on the dangers of masturbation.

Contributors include his grandson Lord Baden-Powell, minister for culture and former cub scout David Lammy, biographer Tim Jeal and Elleke Boehmer, editor of the re-issue of the original Scouting for Boys.

1 hour

Last on

Wed 30 Nov 2016 23:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:34

    White Noise Research

    An Afternoon On Condale Lake

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Ian Hislop
Producer Deborah Lee
Director Deborah Lee
Executive Producer Archie Baron

Broadcasts