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Steve to appear on major BBC 2 TV series The Great British Story

May 18th 2012

Show of Hands’ inspired frontman and BBC award-winning songwriter Steve Knightley is to appear in a major new BBC 2 TV series starting next week.

Knightley, who won the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Original Song title for his topical Arrogance Ignorance and Greed and who recently sold out the Royal Albert Hall for the fourth time with multi-instrumental bandmate Phil Beer, will be seen and heard in the new eight-part landmark series entitled
The Great British Story

Presented by historian Michael Wood, the series starts on Friday, May 25 at 9pm and will chart Britain’s chequered past from the perspective of ordinary people and local communities – from Viking invasions and the Norman Conquests through to the Industrial Revolution and two World Wars. Wood will travel the length and breadth of the UK witnessing a rich diversity of dialects and languages from Cornish to Scots Gaelic and getting to the heart of numerous communities – from the tin miners of Penwith to chain-makers of the Black Country and sailors of Derry. See Programmes

Made for the BBC by independent production company Maya Vision, it will include footage of Show of Hands playing Knightley’s anthemic song of Cornish miners Cousin Jack, as performed on May 15 at the Daphne du Maurier Festival in Fowey, Cornwall.

The Cousin Jack performance is due to feature in Episode 7 of the 8 x 60 minute series, but before that Knightley will be heard performing three other songs illustrating the history of these islands.

One of acoustic roots music’s leading wordsmiths and performers, Steve studied history and politics at Coventry University and subsequently taught history and music. His first contribution to The Great British Story will in Episode 3 when he sings a song about an Anglo-Saxon thane called Breme (meaning “renowned”). Breme, who hailed from Suffolk, was killed in the Battle of Hastings.

This is followed in Episode 4 by Steve’s rendition of a song about the Peasants’ Revolt, with lyrics from an original 14th century text. Finally in Episode 6, Steve – well known for his pull-no-punches songs – will sing The Diggers’ Song – a 17th century protest song about land rights inspired by the Diggers and Levellers movement and composed by one of the movement’s leaders, Gerrard Winstanley.

Director Rebecca Dobbs says: “We wanted Steve to contribute to our series as he has such a broad understanding of the British people’s history and wanted him to use songs of the period to help tell the story. Plus he’s got a wonderful voice that would enhance any programme.”

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Show of Hands are undeniably one of the strongest current forces in acoustic music - England's finest and most popular roots duo and something of a "people's band".

"Formidable operators in the roots arena. A class act"

The Independent

"Voted Best Duo and the Best Original Song"

2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards