Fr John Gerard SJ

Fr John Gerard SJ, the English Mission and the Gunpowder PlotA Farm Street TalkLanding at night on the Norfolk coast in October 1588, Jesuit priest John Gerard very successfully ministered to English Catholics for 17 years in extraordinary circumstances. After many daring escapes he suffered imprisonment and torture, famously escaping from the Tower of London in 1597 to continue his work until 1605.The speaker is his tenth great-nephew, Michael Maslinski, who last year persuaded the BBC to...
Prior to broadcasting the repeat of the BBC series Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents, the BBC has re-edited two of the episodes following a complaint about misleading statements about a Jesuit priest. The series tells the story of how Elizabeth I’s spymasters kept ahead of plots to overthrow her, and later her successor James I. The Jesuit priest Fr John Gerard, famous for his daring escape from the Tower of London in 1597, features heavily in episode 2 and especially in episode 3.The...
As the UK prepares for the annual Bonfire Night celebrations, the BBC will be airing the final episode of its ‘explosive’ three-part drama, Gunpowder. As part of the main cast, the series has portrayed two English Jesuits: Frs John Gerard and Henry Garnet. The first episode saw them involved in a tense opening scene which set the tone for the series, and of the times, of an intense atmosphere of persecution and paranoia. Forced into priest holes at the house of a Catholic recusant by the...
As Britain is moving towards the annual celebration of Bonfire Night on November 5th the BBC is continuing its exploration of the political conditions that lead to the ill-fated attempt to blow up parliament. After the launch of the new drama Gunpowder on Saturday night, tonight the BBC rewinds thirty years to begin a new historical series, ‘Elizabeth I’s secret agents’.  This three-part series looks at the network of spymasters and secret agents that helped protect Queen Elizabeth I from...
Robert Emms as John Gerard SJ and Peter Mullan as Henry Garnet SJ, BBC iPlayer
By the time she died in 1603, Queen Elizabeth’s succession had been planned carefully by Robert Cecil and the Queen’s Council.  As Elizabeth had no heir and many remembered the years of confusion over the succession after the death of Henry VIII, Cecil was convinced that stability was best achieved by paving the way for King James VI of Scotland, a great-grandson of Henry’s sister Margaret, to succeed to the English throne. On Cecil’s secret advice, James VI cultivated the elderly...
The BBC has launched a three-part drama on the Gunpowder Plot, but this time the story is being told from a different perspective. Every school child in the UK will be able to tell you about Guy Fawkes, but this time the drama is told mainly from the point of view of Robert Catesby, the mastermind behind the plot. Written by Ronan Bennett, who has a PhD in seventeenth-century English history, the project was promoted and developed by the actor Kit Harington, recently famous for his role as Jon...
We aren’t sure when Francis Page was born, but we do know that he was born to a well-to-do English family living in Antwerp. He fell in love with the daughter of a Catholic lawyer for who he served as a clerk and became a Catholic in order to win over the family. He met the Jesuit Fr John Gerard who became an informal spiritual director to him, eventually encouraging Francis to go to the continent for his priestly formation at the English College at Rheims. He was ordained in 1600 and left for...