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500 Years since the Reformation

BBC/UFA Fiction & ZDF/Hardy Brackmann


500 years ago on 31st October a young monk named Martin Luther pinned his famous 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, calling for reform of the Catholic Church and protesting against its excesses and corruption.

This act set in motion the seismic changes of the Protestant Reformation, shaping modern Europe (and beyond) both politically and culturally.  It also unleashed years of savage holy war inspiring fundamentalism and religious violence.  BBC is commemorating these events with a season of programmes which will provide excellent resources for KS4 students and above.  We’ve detailed these below and added in some other available programmes and resources which might also be helpful.


Reformation: Europe’s Holy War BBC4 9th October 10pm

Series in which historian David Starkey tells the story of the Protestant Reformation and how it transformed the face of modern Europe. The 1st episode is already available on iPlayer.


England’s Reformation: Three Books That Changed a Nation BBC4 18th October 9pm

Dr Janina Ramirez explores how three books (William Tynsdale’s bible English Bible, Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer and John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) promoted the beliefs of the Reformists and became part of English life.


The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England BBC4 17th October 11.30pm

Melvyn Bragg explores the story of William Tyndale whoe translation of the bible into English helped spread the ideas of the Reformation and helped form the Protestant identity.


Reformation BBC4 17th October 10pm

A Vivid 2-part (second part will be shown on 18th October at the same time) German Language drama set in Wittenberg in 1517 imagining what life was like for the young Martin Luthor and what led him to protest against the corruption of the Church.


Lucy Worsley: Elizabeth I’s Battle for Gods Music BBC4 17th October  9pm

In this programme Lucy Worsley explores the effect the Reformation had on English Church music.


Further Resources


The Essay (BBC Radio 3) now available on iPlayer Radio –

5 part series profiling the people, friends and family, around Martin Luther


Breaking Free – Martin Luther’s Revolution BBC Radio 3 now available on iPlayer Radio

Chris Bowlby explores how the Reformation sgaled German culture and what it means today.


The English Chuch (C4 ) now available via All4

This episode of the series Simon Jenkins looks at how the Reformation affected Church buildings in England


National Archives http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/the-english-reformation-c1527-1590/