Vive L'empereur!



As thousands of men and horses gear up to recreate the Battle of Waterloo for its bicentenary in June, Max Cotton goes inside the world of Napoleonic re-enactment.

The real fighting may have stopped two hundred years ago, but the skirmishing over the battle's authentic recreation and its political meaning intensifies. Max meets the re-enactors as they prepare for their biggest "battle" in the fields and villages south of Waterloo.

It is a tale of genuine passions and obsessions. Max explores the difference between "stitch-counters" and "FARBs", discusses the rival merits of those who seek to play Bonaparte (and meets the real version), and discovers the subtle diplomacy surrounding the bicentenary, as ambassadors across Europe work hard to make sure the British aren't offended, the French turn-up and no-one is humiliated.

Producer: Adam Bowen.