Our latest century-hopping Time Traveller is author and award-winning documentary-maker Stewart Binns. His second novel Crusade is on sale now. We chat exclusively to him to find out about his favourite figure from history, his most interesting historical trips and his reluctant reasoning which spelt the end of Margaret Tudor.
Q: What’s your favourite historic site in the world and why?
A: The Forum, Rome. It is awe inspiring to imagine it as the centre of the vast Roman Empire with all its wonders, achievements and sins.
Q: What’s the most eye-opening ‘hidden historic site’ you’ve visited?
A: The storage rooms of the British Museum. I was lucky enough to film there once and amazing treasures, seemingly lying around haphazardly, were everywhere.
Q: If you could go anywhere on the planet tomorrow where would it be?
A: The Okavango Delta. I’m told it’s spectacular, especially its wildlife. Long may it last.
Q: What’s the most interesting city break you’ve been on?
A: Venice. A treat for the body, heart and soul.
Q: If you could meet one person from history who would it be?
A: Winston Churchill. Again, I’ve been fortunate to have made two documentaries about him and he was an astonishing man.
Q: What tips would you give for someone seeking sites on a budget?
A: Try Britain before you go anywhere else; we have some amazing things to see and enjoy.
Q: Beachside reading: historical fiction or historic fact?
A: Factual always.
Q: What’s your favourite period of history?
A: 10,000 BC to 2012
Q: Have you ever dressed up as a Roman?
A: No, I don’t want to ruin the image!
Q: And finally…Empress Matilda / Poppaea Sabina / Margaret Tudor: Kiss, Marry, Kill?
A: Marry – Empress Matilda, she got there in the end, living to see her son on the throne. Kiss – Poppaea Sabina, apparently very beautiful. Kill – Margaret Tudor. I wouldn’t really, but it’s the only category left!
1072 - England is firmly under the heel of its new Norman rulers.
The few survivors of the English resistance look to Edgar the Atheling, the rightful heir to the English throne, to overthrow William the Conqueror. Years of intrigue and vicious civil war follow: brother against brother, family against family, friend against friend.
In the face of chaos and death, Edgar and his allies form a secret brotherhood, pledging to fight for justice and freedom wherever they are denied. But soon they are called to fight for an even greater cause: the plight of the Holy Land. Embarking on the epic First Crusade to recapture Jerusalem, together they will participate in some of the cruellest battles the world has ever known, the savage Siege of Antioch and the brutal Fall of Jerusalem, and together they will fight to the death.
Stewart Binns began his professional life as an academic. He then pursued several adventures including that of a schoolteacher, specialising in history, before becoming an award-winning documentary-maker and latterly an author. His television credits include the ‘In-Colour’ genre of historical documentaries, notably the BAFTA and Grierson winner, Britain at War in Colour and the Peabody winner, The Second World War in Colour. Crusade is Stewart's second novel.
The views and opinions expressed in Time Travellers are those of the interviewee concerned and do not necessarily reflect those held by Historvius.