John Ball in Documentaries

There are a number of documentaries about the 1381 uprising freely available online. These include:

Medieval England: The Peasants’ Revolt (1969)

Medieval England: The Peasants’ Revolt is an educational film for the Learning Corporation of America, starring Christopher Logue as John Ball and a youthful Anthony Hopkins as a typically rugged Wat Tyler. The film is especially striking for its contextualisation in civil rights movements in 1960s America.

Texts in Time: The Power of Speech (1996)

Part One

Part Two

In this BBC educational programme, the former Labour MP and ex-miner, Dennis Skinner, analyses John Ball’s famous speech.

‘King Death’ from Simon Schama’s History of Britain (2000)

The 1381 uprising features heavily in episode 5, series 1 of Simon Schama’s BBC series History of Britain. The video quality isn’t ideal but it is still watchable.

Timeline: The Peasants’ Revolt (2004)

Tony Robinson’s documentary aired on Channel 4 (UK) and features a number of experts alongside some imaginative reconstructions of the rebels’ journey to London.

Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time: The Peasants’ Revolt (2006)

Stream or download here.

Melvyn Bragg (who has published and broadcast extensively on Ball and 1831) hosts an expert discussion for his BBC Radio 4 programme which features Miri Rubin, Caroline Barron, and Alastair Dunn. Bragg’s BBC’s documentary on Ball is available on the website of the John Ball Society.

John Ball and the 1381 ‘Peasants’ Revolt’ (2020) and The Death of John Ball (2021)

A ten-minute video on John Ball himself from the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM) looks at the events of the hot summer of 1381 against the backdrop of the wet winter of 2020. The follow up video for the 640th anniversary of John Ball’s death looks at the history of interpretation.

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