Fireworks for a Tudor Queen
Historian Lucy Worsley teams up with artist and materials scientist Zoe Laughlin to explore the explosive science and fascinating history of fireworks, using an original pyrotechnics instruction manual, and other 400-year-old historical documents, to recreate one of the most spectacular fireworks displays from the Tudor era.
Zoe's first task was to discover the secrets of Elizabethan gunpowder. Using hands-on experiments, Zoe and a motley team of pyrotechnicians then design, test and construct Tudor rockets, firework fountains and a fire-breathing dragon. But not all the clues to the display's contents can be found in England - some of the fireworks described need to be tracked down further afield. Lucy travels to Italy to recreate the mysterious Girandola - a horizontal spinning wheel of fire - whilst Zoe flies to South Korea to witness the ancient, and rather terrifying, rocket box launcher in action.
This 90 minute documentary was first broadcast on Wednesday 7th March, 9pm, BBC4.