Pembroke on TV

by Katie McIvor

Pembroke College featured recently in two interesting BBC documentaries. Ted Hughes: Stronger than Death was broadcast on Saturday 10th October, on BBC 2, and The Secret Life of Books: The Faerie Queene was shown on BBC 4 on Tuesday 13th October.

Ted Hughes: Stronger than Death

This 90-minute programme explored the life and works of one of Pembroke’s most famous alumni. Ted Hughes (1951) read English at Pembroke on a scholarship and went on to become one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century. In this powerful documentary, excerpts from Hughes’s poems are featured alongside moving interviews with those who knew him personally, including his daughter, Frieda. There are also some beautiful aerial shots of Pembroke College, filmed using a drone.

Pembroke BBC drone shot 1

Pembroke has retained its connection with Hughes’s legacy: the International Ted Hughes Conference was hosted here in 2010, and the library has care of numerous personal documents relating to Hughes. A collection of Hughes’s old fishing rods currently resides in the College.

The Secret Life of Books: The Faerie Queene

The portrait of Spenser (1552-1599) which hangs in the Hall at Pembroke

The portrait of Spenser (1552-1599) which hangs in the Hall at Pembroke

Dr Janina Ramirez presented The Secret Life of Books: The Faerie Queene, a half-hour programme about Edmund Spenser’s epic sixteenth-century poem. The political background of the poem is explored, as are the literary influences to which Spenser was exposed while studying at Pembroke.

Some of the filming for the documentary took place in Pembroke College. The portrait of Spenser in the Hall is featured, as are the gardens where Spenser used to walk during his time as a student here.