Preview: Lucy Worsley’s Fireworks for a Tudor Queen

Lucy Worsley
Lucy Worsley dresses up in period-accurate attire, and dresses the sky with period-accurate fire. Photo: BBC

Historian Lucy Worsley teams up with artist and materials scientist Zoe Laughlin to explore the explosive science and fascinating history of fireworks. Lucy and Zoe are joined by a team of top class pyrotechnicians to replicate a mind-blowing fireworks display especially designed for Queen Elizabeth I – one of the first documented firework displays in England.

Lucy pieces together clues from some of the earliest instruction manuals for making fireworks in England, as well as eyewitness accounts of the display laid on in 1575.

Throughout the show, Lucy explores the history of the three-week extravaganza laid on by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in his final attempt to win the queen’s hand in marriage – from the elaborate food the Tudor audience would have eaten, to the colours that the set might have been painted in.

The danger and technical challenges involved in recreating 400-year-old fireworks creates a real sense of scale and culminates in a spectacular recreation of Elizabeth I’s mind-blowing firework display at Kenilworth Castle.

Fireworks for a Tudor Queen – Wednesday at 10pm on BBC Four