Next Episode of Elizabeth I's Secret Agents is
Elizabeth I's Secret Agents is a three-part series that uncovers the network of spymasters and secret agents that helped protect Queen Elizabeth I from assassination, terror and treason for over 40 years. This is the world's first secret service.During a period when Britain was divided, unstable and violent, one of the world's first secret services was born. Run by William and Robert Cecil, this father and son team had the duty of protecting the Queen and the Country. This series asks leading historians to each study the period from a different key player's point of view, dissecting the minds and motivations of the protagonists, to reveal a covert spy network - and present a picture of the Elizabethan Court as it really was.This series takes us through the biggest events of the period, from the entrapment and execution of Mary Queen of Scots to the death of Queen Elizabeth I, the capture and escape of Catholic fugitive John Gerard and the most infamous terrorist conspiracy in British history - the Gunpowder Plot.
In this episode, we find England alone - a protestant nation in a largely Catholic Europe. Then, 12 years into Elizabeth's reign, the Pope declares her a heretic, which in the hearts of England's Catholics gives them permission to kill her. Queen Elizabeth looks to her spymaster William Cecil to stop the Catholic assassins getting through. Cecil establishes a huge espionage network - England's first secret service. His spies break Catholic conspiracies at home and abroad.
Cecil's network is put on high alert by intelligence from a source in Catholic Europe. As a result he catches a courier carrying coded letters that lead Cecil to unravel a plot to assassinate Elizabeth and install her cousin Mary Queen of Scots on the English throne. Now Cecil will not rest until Mary Queen of Scots, the figurehead for every catholic threat and repository of Catholic hopes, is eliminated. In order to protect a queen, Cecil must kill one.
Cecil now creates an elaborate Elizabethan sting. He incubates a Catholic plot to assassinate the queen and lures Mary into it. But will Mary fall for the bait and seal her fate. Mary does walk right into Cecil's trap but even then the spymaster's aim is thwarted by a queen who refuses to execute her own cousin. Cecil knows Mary must die if Elizabeth is to live, but now that means he must defy his own queen and risk the end of his career - perhaps his life.
Robert Cecil is the son of Elizabeth I's original spymaster. He has been groomed since birth to inherit his father's network but when he finally steps into his father's shoes, the Queen's enemies are stronger than ever and Cecil must also watch his back. The Earl of Essex has established a rival network and is trying to oust Cecil as Elizabeth's spymaster.
Essex is everything Cecil is not. Cecil is bent-backed and under five foot tall. Essex is an athlete and a war hero who flirts with the Queen. But the two men have known each other since childhood. And now they are locked in a battle that is part court theatrical but which is also a lethal spy war in which people die horrifically violent deaths. The stakes are huge. For the winner, untold power. For the loser a one-way trip to the scaffold.
Cecil is also aware that the sun is setting on the reign of Elizabeth, who is in her sixties. He and Essex are not just battling for control of the Queen, but for control over who will be her successor. For the power to select the next King of England. Essex begins a spy war within the spy war by secretly approaching James VI of Scotland and striking a deal to put him on Elizabeth's throne when she has passed away. So Cecil must somehow oust Essex from Elizabeth's court without making an enemy of James who Cecil also wants to inherit the throne.
This is a secret conflict, involving double agents, coded letters, treachery and treason. It is a world that Cecil proves to be an absolute master of. Cecil ruthlessly manoeuvres Essex to the execution block and becomes the man who puts James on the English throne.
King James of Scotland travels south to take the throne at the invitation of Robert Cecil. Meanwhile, John Gerard, a Catholic priest who has dedicated his life to the destruction of the Protestant state that developed in Elizabeth's England has escaped and made contact with a splinter cell in the Catholic underground containing an extremist called Guy Fawkes who has a plan to blow up Parliament with the King inside.
Cecil hears about the Gunpowder Plot, but is unaware of when and how they will strike and his investigation is hampered, as he's also trying to manage King James who has a wildly ambitious idea of unifying Scotland and England in a new kingdom of Great Britain.
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