The Invention Of Childhood

History series, presented by children's writer Michael Morpurgo, exploring a thousand years of British childhood.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01The Grave And The Cradle2006092520100503 (BBC7)
20120416 (BBC7)
20131111 (BBC7)
20160613 (BBC7)
20160614 (BBC7)

How the arrival of Christianity and the Norman Conquest affected British children's lives.

Michael Morpurgo explores a thousand years of British childhood, the arrival of Christianity and the Norman Conquest.

How the arrival of Christianity and the Norman Conquest affected British children's lives.

How did the arrival of Christianity and the Norman Invasion affect the lives of British children?

Readers include Timothy West, Adam Godley and Anna Maxwell Martin

02The Skill Of The Goldsmith2006092620100504 (BBC7)
20120417 (BBC7)
20131112 (BBC7)
20160614 (BBC7)
20160615 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo wonders if medieval people recognised a phase of 'childhood'.

Michael Morpurgo wonders if medieval people recognised a phase of 'childhood', using clues from Britain's first childcare guru.

Did Medieval people recognise a separate phase called childhood or did they simply sees children as little adults? The arrival of Britain's first ever childcare guru provides some clues.

Readers include Timothy West and Adam Godley

03New Shoes With Red Thongs2006092720100505 (BBC7)
20120418 (BBC7)
20131113 (BBC7)
20160615 (BBC7)
20160616 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo unearths what medieval children got up to when left unattended.

What did medieval children get up to when left unattended? Michael Morpurgo unearths some vivid descriptions.

What did Medieval children actually get up to when left to their own devices? Michael finds some astonishingly vivid descriptions in coroners' reports and 'miracle literature'.

Readers include Timothy West and Sara Kestelman

04Mischief And Misrule2006092820100506 (BBC7)
20120419 (BBC7)
20131114 (BBC7)
20160616 (BBC7)
20160617 (BBC7)

Were medieval children permitted to play? Early football and Festivals of Misrule.

Were medieval children permitted to play? Michael Morpurgo learns about early football and about Festivals of Misrule.

Did Medieval children play like children today, and were they ever permitted to get totally out of control? Michael learns about early football and Festivals of Misrule.

Readers include Adam Godley, Timothy West and Sara Kestelman

05A Thousand Histories And Fables2006092920100507 BT=1515 (BBC7)
20100507 (BBC7)
20120420 (BBC7)
20131115 (BBC7)
20160617 (BBC7)
20160618 (BBC7)

The impact of printing and how it raised fears among adults that it corrupted children.

Michael Morpurgo learns about the impact of printing, and how it raised fears among adults that it was corrupting children.

The impact of printing - how it raised fears among adults that it was corrupting children.

Michael learns about the impact of printing on a society already hungry for books, and how - like all the new technologies to come - it raised fears among adults that it was corrupting children.

Readers include Adam Godley, Timothy West and Jack Blumenau.

06Learn To Die2006100220100510 (BBC7)
20120423 (BBC7)
20131118 (BBC7)
20160620 (BBC7)
20160621 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo examines Puritanism and the effects of the Reformation.

Exploring a thousand years of British childhood, Michael Morpurgo examines Puritanism and the effects of the Reformation.

After the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, how did the strict Puritan ethos affect children's lives? One piece of advice, suggesting that the earliest sentence taught to a child should be 'learn to die', gives presenter Michael Morpurgo a clue.

Readers include Jack Blumenau, Anna Maxwell Martin, Timothy West and Adam Godley

07It Was A Precious Child2006100320100511 (BBC7)
20120424 (BBC7)
20131119 (BBC7)
20160621 (BBC7)
20160622 (BBC7)

Exploring how the Puritan ethos affected children and the way of family life.

Michael Morpurgo explores how the Puritan ethos affected children and the way of family life.

How much did the strict Puritan ethos filter down into family life? With a religion that believed children were best off with God in heaven, Michael Morpurgo explores how parents coped with their grief when their own little ones died - as they all too often did.

Readers include Adam Godley, Gerard Mcdermott, Timothy West, Philip Fox, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sara Kestelman and Jack Blumenau.

08The Vast Usefulness Of Reading2006100420100512 (BBC7)
20120425 (BBC7)
20131120 (BBC7)
20160622 (BBC7)
20160623 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo explores education's expansion for boys in the 17th century.

Michael Morpurgo explores education's expansion for boys in the 17th century, and when boyhood ended and manhood began.

With some boys earning a living at seven while others were still under the control of schoolmasters at 14, when did childhood end in the 17th Century? Michael Morpurgo explores the expansion of education for boys and the very contemporary question of when boyhood ends and manhood begins.

Readers include Jack Blumenau, Sara Kestelman, Timothy West and Adam Godley

09But Can She Spin?2006100520100513 (BBC7)
20120426 (BBC7)
20131121 (BBC7)
20160623 (BBC7)
20160624 (BBC7)

How girls' education regressed in the 16th century, with sinful Eve the female archetype.

Michael Morpurgo learns how girls' education regressed in the 16th century, with the sinful Eve as the main female archetype.

Education for girls had been on the increase in the 15th Century, so why were girls in the 16th and 17th Centuries simply instructed that they should be 'seen and not heard'?

Readers include Timothy West, Adam Godley, Anna Maxwell Martin and Sara Kestelman

10Overburdened With Children2006100620100514 (BBC7)
20120427 (BBC7)
20131122 (BBC7)
20160624 (BBC7)
20160625 (BBC7)

The Poor Law, a forerunner of the welfare state and a safety net for many poor children.

Michael Morpurgo tells the story of the Poor Law, a forerunner of the welfare state and a safety net for many poor children.

Michael Morpurgo tells the story of The Poor Law, a forerunner of our Welfare State, and a safety net for numerous poor children.

Readers include Timothy West, Adam Godley and Sara Kestelman

11Like An Angelic Choir2006100920100517 (BBC7)
20120430 (BBC7)
20131125 (BBC7)
20160627 (BBC7)
20160628 (BBC7)

Britain's first foundling hospital met great acclaim, but some children were neglected.

Michael Morpurgo explains how Britain's first foundling hospital met great acclaim in 1741, but some children were neglected.

When Britain's first Foundling Hospital was opened by Thomas Coram in 1741, it rightly met with huge acclaim, though the well-being of individual children could sometimes be neglected for the sake of its public image.

Readers include Timothy West and Adam Godley

12John Locke And Jean-jacques Rousseau2006101020100518 (BBC7)
20120501 (BBC7)
20131126 (BBC7)

The two 18th century philosophers, whose child-rearing ideas are influential to this day.

Michael Morpurgo tells the story of two great 18th century philosophers, whose child-rearing ideas are influential to this day.

Michael Tells The Story Of Two Great 18th Century Philosophers whose ideas about child-rearing are influential to this day.

Is it significant that Locke had no children himself and that Rousseau abandoned all of his to a Foundling hospital?

Readers include Timothy West, Gerard Mcdermott, Adam Godley and Sara Kestelman

12Mr Locke And Mr Rousseau2006101620100518 (BBC7)
20160628 (BBC7)
20160629 (BBC7)

The two 18th century philosophers, whose child-rearing ideas are influential to this day.

Michael Morpurgo tells the story of two great 18th century philosophers, whose child-rearing ideas are influential to this day.

13Dear Papa, Dear Mama2006101120100519 (BBC7)
20120502 (BBC7)
20131127 (BBC7)

The more informal upbringings of middle and upper-class children in the late 18th century.

Michael Morpurgo discovers how middle and upper-class children enjoyed more informal upbringings by the late 18th century.

By the later 18th Century, children of the middle and upper classes were beginning to enjoy more relaxed and informal modes of upbringing, as their happy letters home from school or holidays illustrate.

Readers include Philip Fox, Timothy West, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jack Blumenau.

13'dear Papa, Dear Mama'20100519 (BBC7)
20160629 (BBC7)
20160630 (BBC7)

The more informal upbringings of middle and upper-class children in the late 18th century.

Michael Morpurgo discovers how middle and upper-class children enjoyed more informal upbringings by the late 18th century.

14Babies, Dressed Or Undressed, Jointed, Wax Or Common2006101220100520 (BBC7)
20120503 (BBC7)
20131128 (BBC7)
20160630 (BBC7)
20160701 (BBC7)

The rise of the British toy shop in the 18th century and the beginnings of 'pester power'.

Michael Morpurgo traces the rise of the British toy shop in the 18th century, and the beginnings of 'pester power'.

(14/30)

The 18th Century saw the first British toy shops, hugely increased consumerism and the beginnings of 'pester power'.

Michael Morpurgo traces their rise.

Readers include Adam Godley, Philip Fox, Timothy West and Sara Kestelman

15The Child Is Father Of The Man2006101320100521 (BBC7)
20120504 (BBC7)
20131129 (BBC7)
20160701 (BBC7)
20160702 (BBC7)

Evangelicals to rationalists battle over Britain's children in the 18th century.

With evangelicals to rationalists battling over Britain's children, Michael Morpurgo searches surviving 18th century records.

(15/30)

As the French Revolution blazed across the Channel, Evangelicals, romantics and rationalists continued their fierce battle over childhood in Britain.

Readers include Adam Godley, Timothy West, Sara Kestelman and Gerard Mcdermott.

16How I Wish I Were A Boy2006102020100524 (BBC7)
20120507 (BBC7)
20131202 (BBC7)
20160704 (BBC7)
20160705 (BBC7)

How boys went to 19th century public schools as a shield from too much female influence.

Michael Morpurgo discovers middle-class boys went to 19th century public schools as a shield from too much female influence.

(16/30)

16How I Wish I Were A Boy!2006101620100524 (BBC7)

Michael begins his exploration of childhood in the nineteenth century with a look at how middle class parents were beginning to separate their sons from too much female influence by sending them off to Public Schools.

Readers include Anna Maxwell Martin, Adam Godley, Sara Kestelman, Jessica Dunn and Jack Blumenau.

Michael Morpurgo discovers middle-class boys went to 19th century public schools as a shield from too much female influence.

How boys went to 19th century public schools as a shield from too much female influence.

17Reinstated Divinity2006101720100525 (BBC7)
20120508 (BBC7)
20131203 (BBC7)
20160705 (BBC7)
20160706 (BBC7)

How the Victorian obsession with childhood was represented in art and literature.

Michael Morpurgo discovers the how Victorian obsession with childhood, both real and romanticised, appeared in art and literature.

Michael Morpurgo discovers how the Victorian obsession with childhood - both real and romanticised - appeared in art and literature.

(17/30)

Michael Morpurgo discovers how Victorian obsession with childhood - both real and romanticised - appeared in art and literature.

Michael traces how the Victorian obsession with childhood - both real and romanticised - appeared in art and literature.

Readers include Sara Kestelman, Timothy West and Adam Godley

18Father, Is It Time?2006101820100526 (BBC7)
20120509 (BBC7)
20131204 (BBC7)
20160706 (BBC7)
20160707 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo reveals children's working lives during the Industrial Revolution - up chimneys, in factories and down mines.

Michael Morpurgo reveals children's working lives during the Industrial Revolution.

(18/30)

Michael Morpurgo traces the working lives of children during the Industrial Revolution - up chimneys, in factories and down mines.

Readers include Adam Godley, Anna Maxwell Martin, Gerard Mcdermott and Ryan Nelson.

19I Ain't A Child2006101920100527 (BBC7)
20120510 (BBC7)
20131205 (BBC7)
20160707 (BBC7)
20160708 (BBC7)

Victorian street children and the organisations which grew up to rescue them.

Michael Morpurgo tells the story of Victorian street children and the organisations which grew up to rescue them.

(19/30)

Readers include Adam Godley, Timothy West, Gerard Mcdermott, Jack Blumenau, Wesley Nelson and Poppy Friar.

20Habit Of Schooling2006102620100528 (BBC7)
20120511 (BBC7)

(20/30)

Michael Morpurgo discovers the reaction to the 1870 Forster Education Act - marking the start of compulsory education for all.

How the 1870 Forster Education Act marked the start of compulsory education for all.

20The Habit Of Schooling2006102020100528 (BBC7)
20131206 (BBC7)
20160708 (BBC7)
20160709 (BBC7)

How the 1870 Forster Education Act marked the start of compulsory education for all.

Michael Morpurgo discovers the reaction to the 1870 Forster Education Act, marking the start of compulsory education for all.

How children and their parents reacted to the 1870 Forster Education Act, which marked the beginning of compulsory education for all.

Read by Adam Godley, Sara Kestelman and Charis Taplin.

21What Is The Meaning Of Empire Day?2006102320100531 (BBC7)
20120514 (BBC7)
20131209 (BBC7)
20160711 (BBC7)
20160712 (BBC7)

The experiences of children exiled from or arrived in Britain under the British Empire.

Michael Morpurgo presents readings of the words of children exiled from or arrived in Britain under the British Empire.

(21/30)

How Children were affected by the Empire.

22The Nation's Most Important Asset2006102420100601 (BBC7)
20120515 (BBC7)
20131210 (BBC7)
20160712 (BBC7)
20160713 (BBC7)

Featuring readings of the words of children about the effect on the 20th-century wars.

Michael Morpurgo presents readings of the words of children about the effect on the 20th-century wars.

Episode 22 of 30

23Cutting The Slum Mind Off At The Root2006102520100602 (BBC7)
20120516 (BBC7)
20131211 (BBC7)
20160713 (BBC7)
20160714 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo traces the making of Britain's Welfare State amid concerns for children.

Episode 23 of 30

24They'd Some Queer Ideas At The Clinic2006102620100603 (BBC7)
20120517 (BBC7)
20131212 (BBC7)
20160714 (BBC7)
20160715 (BBC7)

How behaviourists and Freudians battled over upbringing techniques for children.

Michael Morpurgo discovers how behaviourists and Freudians battled over upbringing techniques for children.

Episode 24 of 30

Episode 30 of 30

25Charlie Chaplin Went To France To Teach Ladies How To Dance2006110220100604 (BBC7)
20131213 (BBC7)
20160715 (BBC7)
20160716 (BBC7)

New forms of entertainment available to children in the first half of the 20th century.

Michael Morpurgo discovers new forms of entertainment available for children in the first half of the 20th century.

25Charlie Chaplin Went To France To Teach The Ladies How To Dance2006102720100604 (BBC7)
20120518 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo discovers new forms of entertainment available for children in the first half of the 20th century.

26The Kiddy And The Pork Chop2006103020100607 (BBC7)
20120521 (BBC7)
20131216 (BBC7)
20160718 (BBC7)
20160719 (BBC7)

The impact of economic improvements on children in the second half of the 20th century.

Michael Morpurgo looks at the impact of economic improvements on children in the second half of the 20th century.

Economic improvements in the second half of the twentieth century meant that children no longer had to contribute to the family purse.

Read by Timothy West, Sara Kestelman, Anna Maxwell Martin, Oscar James and Maxine Evans.

27A Prison Or A Garden2006110620100608 (BBC7)
20160719 (BBC7)
20160720 (BBC7)

The story of the fight for children's rights in the second half of the 20th century.

Michael Morpurgo presents the story of the fight for children's rights in the second half of the 20th century.

27A Prison Or A Guardian2006103120100608 (BBC7)
20120522 (BBC7)
20131217 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo presents the story of the fight for children's rights in the second half of the 20th century.

The story of the fight for children's rights in the second half of the 20th century.

BBC7 title A Prison Or A Garden

The story of the fight for children's rights in the second half of the twentieth century.

Read by Timothy West, Adam Godley and Pax Baldwin.

28The Disappearance Of Childhood2006110720100609 (BBC7)
20131218 (BBC7)
20160720 (BBC7)
20160721 (BBC7)

Examining how the media and marketing have encroached on the lives of children.

Michael Morpurgo examines how the media and marketing have encroached on the lives of children.

28The Disappearance Of Childhood?2006110120100609 (BBC7)
20120523 (BBC7)

How the media and marketing have encroached on the young.

Read by Anna Maxwell Martin, Christopher Parkinson and Charis Taplin.

Michael Morpurgo examines how the media and marketing have encroached on the lives of children.

Examining how the media and marketing have encroached on the lives of children.

29Calling A Hit A Smack2006110220100610 (BBC7)
20120524 (BBC7)
20131219 (BBC7)
20160721 (BBC7)
20160722 (BBC7)

How children have fallen between the family and the state, sometimes with tragic results.

Michael Morpurgo examines how children have fallen between the family and the state, sometimes with tragic results.

How children have fallen in recent times between the family and the state, sometimes with tragic results.

Read by Anna Maxwell Martin, Sara Kestelman, Christopher Plumb and Wesley Nelson.

30 LASTReinventing Childhood2006110320100611 (BBC7)
20120525 (BBC7)
20131220 (BBC7)
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20160723 (BBC7)

Michael Morpurgo recalls the impact of adults on childhood down the centuries up to the present day.

Michael recalls the impact of adults on childhood down the centuries, while children have determinedly remained children.

Read by Sara Kestelman, Christopher Parkinson and Poppy Friar.

Recalling the impact of adults on childhood down the centuries up to the present day.

COMPILATION0111th To 16th Centuries20061224

Michael Morpurgo draws together the stories of medieval British childhood, exploring how the arrival of Christianity and the Norman Conquest, the Black Death and the introduction of printing affected children from the 11th to the early 16th centuries.

Read by Timothy West, Sara Kestelman, Anna Maxwell Martin and Adam Godley

COMPILATION0216th And 17th Centuries20061225

Michael Morpurgo looks at how children fared in the wake of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century; at the growing educational opportunities for boys and the diminishing chances for girls in the 17th Century; and the impact of the Poor Law on the most disadvantaged children of all.

COMPILATION0318th Century20061226

Pulling together the stories of British childhood in the 18th Century, Michael Morpurgo tells of the first Foundling Hospital, the impact of the philosophers and parenting gurus John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the battle between the Evangelicals and the Romantics over the nature and purpose of childhood, and the growth of a new phenomenon - pester power.

COMPILATION0419th Centuary20061227

In examining the history of British childhood in the 19th Century, Michael Morpurgo recalls the profound impact of the new Public Schools on both boys and girls from better-off backgrounds, while other children worked or were living on the streets, before the introduction of compulsory schooling for all in 1870.

COMPILATION0520th Century - First Half20061228

Moving into the first half of the 20th Century, Michael Morpurgo explores the impact of the Empire on childhood, and traces the surprising story of how three dreadful wars ultimately benefited British children.

COMPILATION06 LAST20th Century - Second Half20061229

Bringing his long story up to the present, Michael Morpurgo traces how the immense economic and cultural changes of the last 50 years have affected the lives of British children.

Should we expect the imminent disappearance of childhood, or will it go on reinventing itself?