Television's Luddites

Taylor Downing, producer of a dramatised documentary about the Luddite disturbances in Regency England, talks about the making of the current-affairs-style programme, and the 'then and now' parallels about resistance of skilled workers to the introduction of new technology.

In the year 1812 the county of Yorkshire was torn apart by a series of disturbances in which groups of skilled workers came together in a secret organisation dedicated to smashing the new machines being introduced into the woollen industry. So serious did the situation become that the history of this period has been described by J.L. and B. Hammond as a 'history of civil war'. One historian (Philip Ziegler) has written that 'Great Britain in the spring of 1812 was as near to violent class warfare and revolution as at any moment of its history'.

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