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Songs of Love and Desire

Roderick Williams continues his exploration of Britain’s stories, seen through our songs. Today, he uncovers what our singing history reveals about our changing attitudes to love.

Renowned baritone, Roderick Williams continues his exploration of Britain’s stories, told through our song. Today, he uncovers what our singing history reveals about Britain's changing attitudes to love and passion.

Roderick samples love songs from medieval times to the modern day and explores how singing has, for centuries, helped Briton's through the murky waters of desire and romance. He hears how the Tudors and the Victorians approached the sensitive topic of sex in their songs, and he meets singer and harpist, Leah Stuttard, to try out what may have been Britain’s very first internationally best-selling love song.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.
In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song telling us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

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28 minutes

Broadcasts