Secrets of a Suffragette


This June 4th marks the centenary of the 'Suffragette Derby' when Emily Wilding Davison stepped into the path of the King's horse and was fatally injured.

Astonishingly, the terrible moment was captured on no fewer than three newsreel cameras.

The footage of a well-dressed Edwardian woman being killed by racehorses travelling at 35 miles an hour remains deeply shocking. But though the act itself was captured in horrific detail, a century on, mystery and argument surround the story behind it: what exactly Emily Davison intended to do on the track that day; and what drove her to take such reckless action in the first place.

Clare and a team of forensic experts have analysed the footage frame by frame, re-examined the evidence and, astonishingly, believe they may have made new discoveries that will change our view of what really happened on that fateful summer day.

Clare uncovers the story of Emily herself and finds out how a middle-class governess from a genteel family became a radical activist, and explores the hidden history of the militant wing of the votes for women campaign to which Emily belonged, revealing stories of terrible police brutality, forced feeding of hunger strikers, the early use of surveillance tactics that persist to this day and women prepared to use any means necessary to advance their cause.

Watch now on 4oD, available until 24th June 2013


  • Karen Hildebrandt August 4th

    I am unable to see this full program as I am from the U.S. but I am researching Emily's life and would very much like to get a video or at least an audio recording of the program. Is there a way I can purchase it and have it sent to me?
  • Rosemary Venner June 9th

    Great programme with In depth research. I was amazed to hear that Clare was raised in a household so anti-feminist and that her schooling omitted this vital piece of our history. We did this in our first year at grammar school, not as a specific subject but mentioned in ten minutes as part of an hour long history lesson. We suffered the force feeding as we read and saw pictures of the equipment, and we heard that Emily Davidson did not intend to die as she had been practising earlier in the week to put the Votes for Women scarf over the head of a horse so she could get that message across on the King's horse. I do hope that all women who watched the programme are instilled with the same compunction to vote on every occasion offered, even if there is no-one worth voting for and you have to put a cross on each box and invalidate it. Just being there is the important issue.
  • Adele Phemister June 8th

    Dear Clare, your programme about Emily Davison was wonderful, it brought the lives of those bold brave women back to modern consciousness , I enjoyed every minute of it - please do some more on other wild forgotten women - there's enough of them - thank you anyway for that one - regards Adele
  • Ann Forester June 4th

    Claire Any chance of a series about women's "progress" and the changes we've undergone since, say, the industrial revolution, or at least over the last 100 years or so? It's well overdue - how about it - I think there's a generation who take what we have now for granted and think it's always been like this! Ann
  • John Bosley May 27th

    We enjoyed your suffragette programme. My wife has published suffragette poems - one about the jockey riding Amner, at-
  • May 25th

    `Will be watching in Ireland..
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