In 1570, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope when it became clear that she would not be converted to the Catholic faith. This action sparked the beginning of an extraordinary relationship between Britain and the Islamic powers who were at war with Catholic Spain; an alignment that would not be seen again until the modern age.

Join Jenni Murray, Women’s Hour presenter and Elizabeth I enthusiast, and Renaissance expert, Jerry Brotton, for an illuminating look at the forgotten story of Britain’s relationship with the Muslim world.

From humble English merchants given luxurious new lives in Turkish palaces to the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s Othello, our acclaimed speakers give this overlooked chapter of history the attention it deserves, considering the influence each culture had on the other and unearthing the forgotten evidence of the relationship’s lasting legacy.

About The Speakers

Jenni Murray

Jenni Murray is a journalist and broadcaster, best known for presenting BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, described by veteran broadcaster Charles Wheeler as possessing ‘the most beautiful voice on radio, ever’. Jenni is a regular contributor to various newspapers and magazines, and is the author of several books, including The Woman’s Hour: A History of Women since World War II and A History of Britain in 21 Women: A Personal Selection.

Jerry Brotton

Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London. He is a writer, broadcaster and curator, and has published extensively on maps, including the bestselling and award winning ‘A History of the World in Twelve Maps’. He is co-curator of the Bodleian Library’s ‘Talking Maps’ exhibition.


About The Host

Colin Philpott

Colin Philpott is a writer, producer and presenter. He is a former Director of the National Media Museum and BBC programme-maker, and ran the lobbying group Bradford Breakthrough until 2015.