BBC 4 is showing programmes about King Arthur and about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight back to back this evening.
The Making of King Arthur is a new documentary being shown at 9pm. In it, poet Simon Armitage looks at how the legend of King Arthur became ingrained in the British cultural consciousness. He examines how the story, originally created by Welsh bards, was used by the Normans to make themselves more popular after they conquered England, and then adapted and built upon by others throughout the centuries.
But, of course, the story of King Arthur and his knights of the round table is far more than just propaganda - even if it has been used for that purpose by many different people. Simon Armitage says he is less interested in whether King Arthur really existed than in what he has come to represent.
The programme should be interesting, intelligent and thought-provoking and I'm looking forward to watching it.
The programme after it, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is also presented by Simon Armitage.
Although this is the first time it has been shown on BBC 4, I think this is a repeat of a documentary first shown as part of a BBC poetry series. If it is, and you missed it the first time round, it is definitely worth watching as it really brings the 600-year-old poem to life with a journey through England showing places that might have inspired it. If it is something entirely new, then it is even more worth staying tuned in for.
The picture at the top, left, shows a Photographic Print of Excalibur being reclaimed by the Lady of the Lake, 1893. from Heritage-Images, which is available through Amazon.
Selected Poems of Simon Armitage
The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights (Penguin Modern Classics)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Photographic Print of Excalibur being reclaimed by the Lady of the Lake, 1893. from Heritage-Images