In Reformation: Europe’s Holy War, a one-hour documentary for BBC Two airing on Tuesday 3 October at 9.00pm, historian David Starkey reveals how the Protestant Reformation unleashed fundamentalist beliefs, terror and holy war across Europe in a way that is all too familiar to us today. “There was the same literalism,” he says, “the same passionate intensity, the same apocalyptic violence as now.”
Timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the doors of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, this programme will chart the spread of Luther’s ideas across Europe and into Britain. David Starkey will explain how and why Luther’s simple act of defiance would gain such momentum, and will explore the consequences of his actions – both on the Christian faith, and on society at large.
Filmed in Rome, Germany and the UK, the programme will concentrate on the early years of the Reformation, looking in particular at the impact and legacy of the Reformation on England. It prompted Henry VIII to split with the Catholic Church in Rome and declare himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.
Martin Luther’s attack on Rome would transform the western world and Henry VIII’s actions would set Britain apart from both Roman Catholic and Lutheran countries. Starkey argues that Henry’s break with Rome was a ‘Tudor Brexit’ that laid the foundations of our conflicted attitudes to Europe today.
Reformation: Europe’s Holy War airs on Tuesday 3 October 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC TWO.