Episode Info

In the final part of his new series, Ian Hislop takes a wry and witty look at the ups and downs of the Stiff Upper Lip since the First World War and asks whether it still has a role in contemporary Britain. He begins with the General Strike of 1926 and reveals how, despite growing class conflict, British resilience and control helped hold the nation back from all out revolution. He considers how, as the Empire declined in the 1930s, the Stiff Upper Lip became something to have an affectionate laugh at, exploring in particular the 'British Character' series of cartoons by Pont. From then onwards, Britons became increasingly self-conscious about the Stiff Upper Lip -everyone, regardless of how they felt about it, recognised it as a facet of the national character. This would serve us in good stead during the war years - when 'keeping calm and carrying on' became essential for national survival.

Last Hurrah? Photos