The King Returned

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The first of five programmes in which Jonathan Sawday paints a picture of Restoration Britain in five essays: the politics, the science, the culture and the philosophy which made this an extraordinary period of history.

In May 1660 Charles II was invited to return to England and take the throne lost by his beheaded father.

A dozen years of Puritan rule were overthrown with a resuming of vigorous cultural life.

There was an ebullient outpouring of baroque music, liberated playwriting, scientific progress, stately architecture and courtly entertainment that became known as The Restoration.

But in the 1660s how much was really "restored" of pre-Cromwellian Britain - and how much was actually newly introduced? How much that was restored had really never gone away?

Professor Jonathan Sawday attempts to retell the story of the Restoration in a new way - through five essays, each of which provide a shapshot of cultural and intellectual life.

Caricatured as excessive in today's costume drama, this was a time that was also energetic, experimental and outward looking.

From the foundation of the Royal Society, to the construction of St.

Paul's, to the new contractual nature of government - this was a period which marks the creation of crucial aspects of modern Britain.

Producer: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday presents the first of five portraits of Restoration Britain.

But in the 1660s how much was really restored" of pre-Cromwellian Britain - and how much was actually newly introduced? How much that was restored had really never gone away?

On the 350th anniversary of the King's return Professor Jonathan Sawday attempts to retell the story of the Restoration I in a new way - through five essays, each of which provide a shapshot of cultural and intellectual life.

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Jonathan Sawday continues his exploration of Restoration Britain.

In this essay, how Charles II's return brought a resurrection of the king's bodily powers like his healing "touch".

Jonathan Sawday uses this event to tell the story of how the body returned to public life in so many forms - women on stage, sexualised poetry, the return of fashion, the first attempts at surgery - it symbolised a pushing aside of the Godly people who had ruled under Cromwell.

Producer: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday explores the return of the King's 'healing touch'.

In this essay, how Charles II's return brought a resurrection of the king's bodily powers like his healing touch".

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Why were Pepys, Charles II and Christopher Wren all pre-occupied by lenses? Because the microscope, with Robert Hooke's help, was one of the great novelties of the age for the learned.

Jonathan Sawday charts how science became one of the unexpected beneficiaries of Charles II's Restoration and how the visual impact of science - the world seen through a lens - offered new ways of thinking about the world around them.

Producers: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday on the impact of Charles II's Restoration on science.

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Jonathan Sawday charts the rise of the architect as a figure of authority in Restoration Britain - as Plague, Fire and royal ambition offered the chance for new buildings in the capital.

Producers: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday on the rise of architects as authority figures in Restoration Britain.

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Jonathan Sawday paints a picture of Restoration Britain, on the return of Charles II to the throne in 1660.

Why did the idea of the contract become so pervasive in society?

The King may have been invited home to his rightful place, but some things had changed for good.

After 1649, any king had to be aware of the idea of a contract of with his people.

After all, that was philosopher Thomas Hobbes' defence of monarchy in the 1650s - and it culminated at the end of this period with John Locke's famous Social Contract and the 1688 Glorious Revolution.

Jonathan tells the story of why the idea of the contract become so pervasive in political and mercantile Restoration society.

Producer: Hannah Godfrey and Matthew Dodd.

Jonathan Sawday on how the contract became so pervasive in Restoration society.

Jonathan Sawday paints a picture of Restoration Britain, 350 years after Charles II returned to the throne.