Cromwell vs The Crown: God’s Revolution

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What to expect

An epic 12-part drama about the events leading up to, and following, the execution of King Charles I

‘Classy writing… wonderfully crisp, with a brilliant cast’ The Spectator

England, 1647. Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army has routed the Royalists, and the King, having fled to Scotland, has been ransomed, sent back across the border and imprisoned. It seems the war is over, but there is trouble ahead. Parliament wants to disband the army and install its own militia – an act that looks, to Cromwell’s loyal soldiers, like outright betrayal.

As dissent grows within the ranks, agitators such as Francis White and John Reynolds, and leading Leveller John Lilburne, step up to speak for the common man. What began with a dispute over army demobilisation soon becomes far more, and a radical faction arises demanding freedom, equality and power to the people. But for Cromwell and his Commander-in-Chief, Thomas Fairfax, this is a challenge to Parliament’s authority, and smacks of revolution. Facing a schism within the army, Cromwell is torn – but when the King escapes from custody, he and his troops have a new threat to deal with…

Meanwhile, the women at home have troubles of their own. Clever, independent Penelope White is subject to the whims of her intransigent father, who wants her to marry a man of his choosing. And Lilburne’s wife, Elizabeth, must risk her life each time she smuggles forbidden political papers into his cell in the Tower of London. As their men prepare to fight once more, what does the future hold for them?

Set between the pivotal years of 1647 and 1649, this classic Civil War drama stars Bernard Hepton as Cromwell, Nigel Anthony as Fairfax, Graham Blockey as Francis White, Christian Rodska as Lilburne, William Eedle as Charles I, Deborah Makepeace as Penelope and Maureen O’Brien as Elizabeth.

Cast and credits
Written by Don Taylor

God’s Revolution
Lord General Fairfax – Nigel Anthony
John Church – Eric Allan
Francis White – Graham Blockey
Charles I/Lieut. Colonel Jackson/Cornet Denne – William Eedle
Oliver Cromwell – Bernard Hepton
Stephen White – David March
John Reynolds – Kim Wall
John Lilburne – Christian Rodska
James Thompson – Simon Cuff
Miles Sindercombe/Col. Rainsborough/Sir William Waller/Morrison – John Baddeley
Corporal Perkins/Silent soldier/Simeon/Joseph/Winstanley/Brother Gerard – Steve Hodson
Colonel James/Lockyer/Major General Skippon/Huntingdon – Peter Craze
Edmund White/Major Gooday/Col. Scroop – Cornelius Garrett
Penelope White – Deborah Makepeace
Elizabeth Lilburne – Maureen O’Brien
William Thompson/Captain Musket – Anthony Jackson
Commissary Ireton – Bill Wallis
Edward Sexby/Col. Whalley – John Hartoch
Lady Anne Fairfax – Lin Sagovsky
Cornet Joyce/Everard – Jonathan Nibbs
Betty – Zelah Clarke
Mrs Cromwell/Martha- June Barrie
John Lilburne – Christian Rodska
Beggar woman – June Tobin
John Wildman – Stephen Rashbrook
Robin – Elizabeth Lindsay
Isaac – Christopher Asante
Capt. Hatton – Alan Coveney
Pride – Norman Eshley
Mary Overton – Barbara Kellermann
Mrs Chidley – Ellen Dryden
Barry – Paul Sirr
Directed by Shaun MacLoughlin and Ronald Mason
Psalms arranged by Blaise Compton
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 7 October-23 December 1988

© 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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