New programme, Nelson in his own words, to air on BBC Two this Friday

BBC Two’s new drama-documentary, Nelson: In His Own Words, airing 6 March, reveals a different, complex side to Britain’s greatest naval hero

Image credit: BBC Pictures

As Britain’s greatest naval hero, Horatio Nelson was Britain’s was famed for his dash-and-glory heroics.

But he was also a prolific letter writer and a new drama-documentary on BBC Two has used his letters, will be gracing our TV screens this Friday. Nelson’s letters reveal that he was a very different and more complex man than the hero that Britain created after his death, and show how he skilfully and manipulatively used PR to advance his own career.

In his correspondence, he was very careful in his praise of his rivals – in case they threatened his own prospects, and he also talks of how his passionate love affair with Emma Hamilton changed his life forever.

The new BBC Two programme is directed by Emmy nominee David Belton and stars renowned RSC actor Jonathan Slinger as Nelson.

Image credit: BBC Pictures

Exclusive extracts from the letters:

‘If it be a sin to covet glory, I am the most offending soul alive.’

‘No separation, no time, my only beloved Emma, can alter my love and affection for you.’

‘She is one of the very best women in this world. She is an honour to her sex.’ [About Emma]

‘I’ve never known happiness beyond moments.’

‘My dearest Emma, I believe my arrival was most welcome – the Nelson touch. It was like an electric shock. Some shed tears. All approved.’ [While he was Commander in Chief of Mediterranean Fleet – Battle of Trafalgar].


Nelson In His Own Words will air on BBC Two at 9pm on Friday 6 March 2015. 

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