A Gambling Man - Charles Ii And The Restoration

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0120100510

In May 1660 Charles II returns from exile in Holland.

Michael Maloney reads from the book by Jenny Uglow.

Charles II was thirty when he crossed the Channel in fine May weather in 1660.

His Restoration was greeted with maypoles and bonfires, like spring after long years of Cromwell's rule.

But there was no going back, no way he could 'restore' the old.

Certainty had vanished.

The divinity of kingship fled with his father's beheading.

'Honour' was now a word tossed around in duels.

'Providence' could no longer be trusted.

As the country was rocked by plague, fire and war, people searched for new ideas by which to live.

Exactly ten years later Charles would stand again on the shore at Dover, laying the greatest bet of his life in a secret deal with his cousin, Louis XIV.

The Restoration decade was one of experiment: from the science of the Royal Society to the startling role of credit and risk, from the shocking licence of the court to the failed attempts at toleration of different beliefs.

Negotiating all these, Charles, the 'slippery sovereign', layed odds.

Yet while his grandeur, his court and his colourful sex life were on display, his true intentions lay hidden.

A Gambling Man is a portrait of Charles II, exploring his elusive nature through the lens of these ten vital years - and a portrait of a vibrant, violent, pulsing world, in which the risks the king took forged the fate of the nation, on the brink of the modern world.

Written by Jenny Uglow

Read by Michael Maloney

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0220100511

Having re-established the monarchy, Charles turns his attentions to matters of the heart.

Charles works quickly to re-establish the monarchy and ensure a stable government.

A glamorous and decadent court is also making a name for itself with Charles at its centre.

Written by Jenny Uglow

Read by Michael Maloney

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0320100512

As a keen theatre-goer, Charles takes every opportunity to mingle with his people.

But in private he and his wife Catherine of Braganza long for an heir.

Written by Jenny Uglow

Read by Michael Maloney

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

In private, Charles and his wife Catherine of Braganza long for an heir.

0420100513

The Restoration is firmly established and trade is flourishing.

Charles' next aim is to make England master of the seas.

But he's up against fierce competition and war with the Dutch is imminent.

Written by Jenny Uglow

Read by Michael Maloney

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Charles aims to make England master of the seas, but war with the Dutch is imminent.

05 LAST20100514

After The Great Fire of London in 1666, rebuilding work began with a vengeance.

But elsewhere, all is not well and Charles is about to take the biggest gamble of his life.

Written by Jenny Uglow

Read by Michael Maloney

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

With the country in disarray, Charles embarks on the biggest gamble of his life.