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Episode 5 of 10

Sir David Cannadine explores Winston Churchill's complicated relationship with education.

Winston Churchill was revered by millions as the saviour of Britain in the Second World War, but he wasn't just a great war leader - he wrote millions of words of journalism, he painted, he built brick walls, he owned racehorses, he gambled in Monte Carlo casinos and even wrote screenplays. Yet his personality was mercurial; bouts of hyper-activity were interspersed with black days of depression. While he had a loving marriage, he spent long periods apart from his wife and children, some of whom caused him deep anxiety and distress.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death, celebrated historian Sir David Cannadine, author of In Churchill's Shadow, examines the life and career of Winston Churchill by looking at ten different themes that are less well known, but which are crucial to a fuller understanding of one of the most extraordinary individuals ever to occupy No. 10 Downing Street.

He may have been one of the most visionary and impressive people who lived, but Churchill had a difficult time at school and a limited education. Today, Sir David Cannadine explores how Churchill's school days were rebellious and underachieving and how, after leaving Harrow, he applied three times to Sandhurst before passing the entrance exam. Being denied the benefit of an Oxbridge education left Churchill with complicated feelings of regret so, while serving as a young officer in India, he resolved to educate himself. The autodidact who never went to University later became the Chancellor of Bristol University and even had a Cambridge College named after him.

Producer: Melissa FitzGerald
A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

15 minutes

Last on

Fri 23 Jan 2015 13:45


  • Fri 23 Jan 2015 13:45

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

A collection of programmes celebrating the life and achievements of Winston Churchill.