BBC Radio 4, 13-17 May 2013
The road to the Reform Bill of
1832 was nothing if not rocky, involving a shifting set of alliances, conflicts, rivalries and battles amongst the aristocracy,
the King and his ministers. Entrenched attitudes were questioned; corruption investigated; and some deeply-held privileges
- for example, the right to stand as a Member of Parliament for rotten boroughs - abolished.
Needless to say, such reforms did not come
without a good deal of bloodshed, both verbal and physical. Antonia Fraser's narrative suggested that the path to reform
was not only confined to Britain, but extended into Europe as well - especially France. This is what rendered it so
significant; it was Great Britain's equivalent of the French Revolution without the slaughter.
Adrian Scarborough's reading brought out
the colour of Fraser's prose, as she transformed the oft-told details into a fascinating text worthy of the best historical
novels. The producer was Duncan Minshull.