Rebels and Redcoats. BBC2, Tuesday, July 8, 9-10pm.
To celebrate Independence Day, Professor Richard Holmes visits some of the battlefields of the American War of Independence - and finds, from the first shot, that even the name of the conflict is misleading. This was not, he insists, a struggle for national liberation; it was a civil war and where the issues are less clear-cut than we may believe, dividing families and attracting some to the rebel cause for less than the best reasons. He traces events from the unrest fomented in Boston by brewer Sam Adams, silversmith Paul Revere and smuggler John Hancock. As Holmes tramps around battlefields, he is excellent at describing the events and analysing the result. A promising piece, but it may not please everyone across the Pond.