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Letters From Baghdad airs Monday 18 Sep 2017 on BBC-4

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Letters From Baghdad tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell – in her day, the most powerful woman in the British Empire. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum.

Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power.

With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Gertrude Bell’s own 1,600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiqués. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq.

Gertrude Bell voiced by actress Tilda Swinton.

Letters From Baghdad airs on Monday 18 September 2017 from 9.00pm-10.30pm on BBC Four.

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