Thursday 11th/ Friday12th May, 2006

Shooting in Winchester cathedral, one of my favourite buildings in England, dating in part from the late 11th century. For most of these two days we’re in the Lady chapel where we meet Anthony Babington – I won’t say in what context as it’s a pivotal moment in the film.

The Babington plot against Elizabeth was the culmination of two conspiracies – the first a Spanish invasion of England aimed at putting Mary Queen of Scots on the throne and the other a plan to assassinate Elizabeth. Whilst Babbington gave his name to the plot it’s parts were dreamt up in France by two Englishmen, Paget and Morgan. By the time Babington became involved the whole plan was already probably fatally compromised by Walsingham’s agents.
Babington himself was just twenty-five years old and married with a daughter. He had been a page to the Earl of Shrewsbury at the time the Earl was Mary Queen of Scot’s keeper and developed a deep sympathy for her and the Catholic cause. He was also naïve and easily lead however, believing implicitly in promises of widespread support at home and abroad in Spain which where, to say the least, wishful. He also proved an overzealous and incautious correspondent with Mary, his blind faith in his cause and promises of her imminent delivery tempting her into providing just the written evidence Walsingham needed to bring her to trial under the Act of Association. From here it was just a short step to her death.

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