Preview – Abducted: Elizabeth I’s Child Actors

Katherine Rundell
Picture Shows: Katherine Rundell at Hampton Court Palace on the trail of Elizabeth I’s abducted child actors. Image Credit: BBC/Wingspan Productions.

Author and academic Katherine Rundell looks at the shocking world of child actors during the days of Elizabethan England.

Elizabeth I had passed a law allowing “impressments” of children by theatre managers, meaning that they could take kids off the streets and force them to become actors against their will. The programme follows one particular case, of 13-year-old Thomas Clifton was taken away by his parents in 1600, and his father’s attempts to win back custody of his son.

Abducted: Elizabeth I’s Child Actors is on BBC Four at 21.00.