Flodden battles onto BBC One Show

TV presenter Dan Snow with a billhook at Branxton
TV presenter Dan Snow with a billhook at Branxton

THE BBC’s One Show made a visit to the battlefields and castles of the borderlands last week ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.

Presenter and historian Dan Snow visited the battlefield and Ford Castle, where he talked to Lord Joicey, chairman of the Flodden 500 commemorative group.

Dan and his camera crew went on a tour of the battle site, including the dip where King James IV was killed, escorted by local historian Clive Hallam-Baker,

“Dan was very knowledgeable and engaging,” said Clive. “He was very interested in the build-up to the battle, and how such an important event could come to happen in such an out of the way neck of the woods as this.”

The piece will appear in a slot on the One Show later this month.

Clive will be holding a talk and a book signing of his own at the Tankerville Arms, Wooler, as part of Glendale Local History Society’s monthly series of Flodden events.

The talk, ‘Flodden - Many Questions and Perhaps a Few Answers’ takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 13.

Clive, a resident of Branxton, the village adjacent to the battlefield, is a Flodden expert, whose most recent book, ‘The Battle of Flodden - Why and How’, was published last year.

He is in the middle of a hectic schedule of talks on the subject as the countdown to the 500th anniversary continues.

“I’ve been down to Milton Keynes giving a Flodden presentation, which went down very well,” he said, “and soon I’ll be giving more local talks in Norham, Warkworth and Wooler.”

“It’s all good publicity,” he went on, “this works wonders for tourism, which is what it is all about in my view.” He joked: “Once we’ve got people flooding into Flodden, we’ll get started on the Battle of Humbleton Hill.”

A quartet of Borders actors and artists are also preparing to mark the milestone, with a reading of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem ‘Marmion’.

Scott’s poem, which was published in an 1808 edition that sold out in just a month, features a dramatic climax set during the 1513 battle.

Judy Steel has written extensively in the traditions of the area, including two libretti for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra based on old Border ballads. In June 2011, she was awarded an MBE for services to theatre in the Borders.

She joins Gerda Stevenson, whose film credits include ‘Braveheart’, Crawford Logan and John Nicol, of the Borders-based Rowan Tree theatre group.

The recital is a centrepiece of the prestigious Stanza poetry festival in St Andrews, on Sunday, March 10.