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Published: 08 April 2014

By Andy Ross

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Rule Britannia!

A new series has just started on BBC Four all about the music of the 18th Century and how it was used as a weapon for British identity.

The first in the series, available on iPlayer, includes opera, popular song, mischief and intrigue. The very different world of  castrati and divas mingles with politics in this episode, with a telling sideways glance at a fan which has pencilled in on its surface the names of those seated in the boxes opposite, and there are popular ballads and songs for every day as well as a fantastic spoof on opera in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera.

The series is on BBC Four, Mondays at nine and available to UK listeners shortly afterwards on iPlayer.