When did our upper lip get so stiff?
In a new three-part documentary series, broadcaster and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop reveals that in days gone by we were far more touchy-feely as a nation. So just when did our upper lip get so darned stiff? Ian explores how and why such stoicism emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in a country which was until then awash with sentimentality.
In the course of his voyage of discovery, Ian finds himself playing cricket on the ChampsElysees, discovers some 200-yearold merchandising David Beckham would be proud of, and reveals why we have the great British Bulldog, and not the British Cock, as a national symbol.
Ian says: "The stiff upper lip has often been considered our defining national characteristic.
"But in this new series I set out to find out when, how and why we British bottled up or let out our feelings and what effect this had on our history. And I ask whether the stiff upper lip still has any place in our society."
Ian Hislop's Stiff Upper Lip - An Emotional History of Britain BBC2, Tuesday, 9pm
Ian Hislop gets into the spirit of things for the new series