FRIDAY REVIEW

It is Cromwell next on BBC

NOTHING WAS known about him till he became a member of Parliament and after that "his rise was meteoric." Oliver Cromwell, 17th century leader of England, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, as he was called, will be the next `Great Briton', to be featured in BBC World's mini-series that began with a documentary on Princess Diana.

Interestingly the 11 "Great Britons" to be featured are vying for the top score, because it is the viewers who will select the greatest of them all.

The history of Oliver Cromwell is to be presented on June 28 (tomorrow) at 19.40 and repeated on June 29 (02.40; 14.40; 23.40 IST).

According to Richard Holmes, the presenter of this segment, the story of Cromwell is the most extraordinary in British history. A skilled administrator who was firm in action, a great soldier with remarkable confidence and a staunch believer in God, Oliver Cromwell held sway till his death in 1658.

A complete parliamentarian at heart, despite all the power the man wielded, he never became a dictator — this is what Holmes tries to convey in the most emphatic manner.

Taking long strides down the actual war locations of the civil wars and travelling to the spots where Charles I was tried and beheaded, Holmes transports you to the Cromwellian era.

The studied and expressive narration is unable to keep pace with his agility. Every scene that shows a significant event in Cromwell's England is juxtaposed with a modern, contemporary scenario of the present day, from where Holmes addresses the viewer.

Cromwell's puritanical religiosity, his acumen and his bravery are dwelt upon. The presentation, produced and directed by Mary Cranitch, is, however, marked by slowness, so characteristic of documentaries.— MRN

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