Channel 4’s Alice Roberts takes a humiliating dip in the River Wensum
PUBLISHED: 14:46 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:02 24 April 2018
Hal Shinnie. Channel 4 images must not be altered or manipulated in any way. This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 progr
Here’s a first glimpse of Norwich’s starring role in this Saturday’s Britain’s Most Historic Towns: Tudor Norwich - see Professor Alice Robert ducked in the River Wensum at Pull’s Ferry and making bright red dye with human urine!
In this first glimpse of Britain’s Most Historic Towns: Tudor Norwich, we see Professor Alice Roberts publicly humiliated at Pull’s Ferry, find out why she should have gone commando in Stranger’s Hall and see her concoct the most popular dye of its day using an ingredient we can all produce almost on demand.
Alice will be in Norwich in Saturday’s Channel 4 programme telling the story of the Tudors through the history of the city.
In each programme Alice studies one key period in history by delving into the secrets of a historic town that encapsulates the era, providing an accurate impression of what life was really like at key moments in our turbulent past.
Alice learns the harsh reality of religious intolerance, uncovers the origins of Norwich City FC’s iconic canary and experiences humiliating Tudor justice via a ducking stool at Pull’s Ferry.
Textiles expert Aviva Leigh, who is based in Norwich and works with locally-grown dyes such weld and woad, using traditional skills to produce contemporary woven and stitched textiles, helps Alice to make some madder dye, a traditional shade for the city which benefited from Norwich’s hard water.
Another vital ingredient in the red dye was urine.
“We had 365 pubs in this town so they used to have a pot outside every single pub and someone would come round and collect it,” Aviva tells Alice, before changing her modern technique (which doesn’t use urine) to the traditional one (which does) to create the vivid colour.
Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral and Stranger’s Hall will all star in the show, which is on Saturday night at 8pm.
Professor Alice Roberts has said she was “slightly entranced” by the Tudors in Norwich and that her favourite historical figure is Norfolk’s legendary warrior and Queen of the Iceni, Boudicca.
“Personally, my favourite era goes back even earlier - before written history starts. I love prehistory - particularly the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. These were times when our ancestors made a revolutionary change from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers, and when great migrations of people spread languages - and genes - across Europe. That’s all a bit too early for this series though, but I do admit being slightly entranced by the Tudors in Norwich!” she said.
“I became fascinated by Boudicca when I filmed The Celts for BBC2 several years ago. As a child I loved Rosemary Sutcliff’s Song for a Dark Queen, and writing the book of The Celts allowed me to delve into her story - to try to understand this woman whose biography was written by her enemies,” she said.
* This week’s Weird Norfolk tale will be about ducking at Fye Bridge, see the Eastern Daily Press on Saturday.