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Samuel Dash, the son of Joseph and Ida Dash, immigrants from the Soviet Union, was born in Camden, New Jersey on 27th February, 1925.
At 18 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a bombardier navigator flying missions in Italy during the Second World War. After the war Dash graduated from Harvard Law School. In 1955 he became a district attorney in Philadelphia, but later turned to private law practice. He also taught law at Georgetown University.
On 17th June, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while in the Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate.
The phone number of E. Howard Hunt was found in address books of the burglars. Reporters were now able to link the break-in to the White House. Bob Woodward, a reporter working for the Washington Post was told by a friend who was employed by the government, that senior aides of President Richard Nixon, had paid the burglars to obtain information about its political opponents.
In 1972 Richard Nixon was once again selected as the Republican presidential candidate. On 7th November, Nixon easily won the the election with 61 per cent of the popular vote. Soon after the election reports by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, began to claim that some of Nixon's top officials were involved in organizing the Watergate break-in.
Frederick LaRue now decided that it would be necessary to pay the large sums of money to secure their silence. LaRue raised $300,000 in hush money. Anthony Ulasewicz, a former New York policeman, was given the task of arranging the payments.
Hugh Sloan, testified that LaRue told him that he would have to commit perjury in order to protect the conspirators. LaRue was arrested and eventually found guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice. He was sentenced to three years in jail but only served four months before being released.
In January, 1973, Frank Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping.
Richard Nixon continued to insist that he knew nothing about the case or the payment of "hush-money" to the burglars. However, in April 1973, Nixon forced two of his principal advisers H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign. A third adviser, John Dean, refused to go and was sacked. On 20th April, Dean issued a statement making it clear that he was unwilling to be a "scapegoat in the Watergate case".
On 7th February, 1973, the Senate voted to create a Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Sam Ervin was appointed chairman of this committee. Samuel Dash became chief counsel to the committee.
On 25th June, 1973, John Dean testified that at a meeting with Richard Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged. On Friday, 13th July, Alexander P. Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked by Sam Dash about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations.
Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed". This information did indeed interest Archibald Cox and Sam Ervin demand that Richard Nixon hand over the White House tapes. Nixon refused and so Cox appealed to the Supreme Court.
On 20th October, 1973, Nixon ordered his Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered the deputy Attorney-General, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and he was sacked. Eventually, Robert Bork, the Solicitor-General, fired Cox.
An estimated 450,000 telegrams went sent to Richard Nixon protesting against his decision to remove Cox. The heads of 17 law colleges now called for Nixon's impeachment. Nixon was unable to resist the pressure and on 23rd October he agreed to comply with the subpoena and began releasing some of the tapes. The following month a gap of over 18 minutes was discovered on the tape of the conversation between Nixon and H. Haldemanon June 20, 1972. Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, denied deliberately erasing the tape. It was now clear that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up and members of the Senate began to call for his impeachment.
Peter Rodino, who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, presided over the impeachment proceedings against Nixon. The hearings opened in May 1974. The committee had to vote on five articles of impeachment and it was thought that members would split on party lines. However, on the three main charges - obstructing justice, abuse of power and withholding evidence, the majority of Republicans voted with the Democrats.
Two weeks later three senior Republican congressmen, Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, John Rhodes visited Richard Nixon to tell him that they were going to vote for his impeachment. Nixon, convinced that he will lose the vote, decided to resign as president of the United States.
On 9th August, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first President of the United States to resign from office. Nixon was granted a pardon but several members of his staff involved in the cover-up were imprisoned. This included: H. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, John Dean, John N. Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, Herbert W. Kalmbach, Egil Krogh, Frederick LaRue, Robert Mardian and Dwight L. Chapin.
Dash worked as a law professor at Georgetown University for nearly 40 years. He also helped Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in devising the American Bar Association’s ethical standards for prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers.
Samuel Dash died in Washington, D.C. of congestive heart failure on 29th May 2004.
Since June 17, 1972, the reporters had saved their notes and memos, reviewing them periodically to make lists of unexplored leads. Many items on the lists were the names of CRP and White House people who the reporters thought might have useful information. By May 17, 1973, when the Senate hearings opened, Bernstein and Woodward had gotten lazy. Their nighttime visits were scarcer, and, increasingly, they had begun to rely on a relatively easy access to the Senate committee's staff investigators and attorneys. There was, however, one unchecked entry on both lists - presidential aide Alexander P. Butterfield. Both Deep Throat and Hugh Sloan had mentioned him, and Sloan had said, almost in passing, that he was in charge of "internal security." In January, Woodward had gone by Butterfield's house in a Virginia suburb. No one had come to the door.
In May, Woodward asked a committee staff member if Butterfield had been interviewed.
"No, we're too busy."
Some weeks later, he had asked another staffer if the committee knew why Butterfield's duties in Haldeman's office were defined as "internal security"
The staff member said the committee didn't know, and maybe it would be a good idea to interview Butterfield. He would ask Sam Dash, the committee's chief counsel. Dash put the matter off. The staff member told Woodward he would push Dash again. Dash finally okayed an interview with Butterfield for Friday, July 13, 1973.
On Saturday the 14th, Woodward received a phone call at home from a senior member of the committee's investigative staff. "Congratulations," he said. "We Interviewed Butterfield. He told the whole story."
What whole story?
"Nixon bugged himself."
He told Woodward that only junior staff members had been present at the interview, and that someone had read an excerpt from John Dean's testimony about his April 15 meeting with the President.
"The most interesting thing that happened during the conversation was very near the end," Dean had said. "He (Nixon) got up out of his chair, went behind his chair to the corner of the Executive Office Building office and in a barely audible tone said to me he was probably foolish to have discussed Hunt's clemency with Colson." Dean had thought to himself that the room might be bugged.
Butterfield was a reluctant witness. He said that he knew it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed. The interrogators pressed-and out floated a story which would disturb the presidential universe as none other would.
The existence of a tape system which monitored the President's conversations had been known only to the President himself, Haldeman, Larry Higby, Alexander Haig, Butterfield and the several Secret Service agents who maintained it. For the moment, the information was strictly off the record.
The reporters were again concerned about a White House set-up. A taping system could be disclosed, they reasoned, and then the President could serve up doctored or manufactured tapes to exculpate himself and his men. Or, having known the tapes were rolling, the President might have induced Dean - or anyone else - to say incriminating things and then feign ignorance himself. They decided not to pursue the story for the moment.
All Saturday night, the subject gnawed at Woodward. Butterfield had said that even Kissinger and Ehrlichman were unaware of the taping system. The Senate committee and the special prosecutor would certainly try to obtain the tapes, maybe even subpoena them.
At that very moment, President Nixon was in Bethesda Naval Hospital in suburban Maryland, suffering from viral pneumonia. He had awakened in the early hours of the previous morning with a high fever and complaining of severe chest pains. That day he spent in bed. He had one tense conversation with Sam Ervin in regard to the committee's request for all White House papers that might relate to the Senate's investigation. Nixon had refused to turn over the papers, citing executive privilege. When his condition worsened and a chest X ray showed that he had viral pneumonia, the decision was made to move him to the hospital....
Nixon may well have believed that he was on top of the day's events, but during that weekend the president remained completely unaware that his political fate was being seriously undermined by the prospective testimony before the Watergate committee of Alexander Butterfield.
That Nixon remained ignorant of Butterfield's doings during the weekend of July 14 and 15 has been regarded by Watergate historians and journalists as little more than an oddity to be briefly noted. It was much more than that.
After showing Butterfield to the door, Democratic staffers Armstrong and Boyce rushed to find Sam Dash at his office, while Republican counsel Sanders went on a similar mission to locate Fred Thompson. When Armstrong and Boyce came into his office, Sam Dash later wrote in his book Chief Counsel, "they both looked wild-eyed. Scott was sweating and in a state of great excitement. As soon as he had closed the door the words tumbled out of his mouth as he told me about Butterfield's astounding revelation.... We became overwhelmed with the explosive meaning of the existence of such tapes. We now knew there had been a secret, irrefutable 'witness' in the Oval Office each time Dean met with Nixon, and if we could get the tapes we could now do what we had thought would be impossible-establish the truth or falsity of Dean's accusations against the President."
Thompson was at the bar at the Carroll Arms hotel, having a drink with a reporter, when Sanders dragged him outside to a small park, checked to see if they could be overheard, and blurted out the news.
There were two problems with any proposed Butterfield testimony. The first was that he did not want to testify and had suggested that the committee get Higby or Haldeman to testify in public about the taping system. Second, he was scheduled to leave on Tuesday, July 17, for the Soviet Union to help negotiate a new aviation treaty.
Learning this, Dash found Sam Ervin and they agreed that Butterfield should be compelled to testify on Monday, and Ervin authorized Dash to prepare a subpoena for Butterfield.
For his part, Fred Thompson and Assistant Minority Counsel Howard Liebengood met with Howard Baker on Saturday morning. As Thompson later wrote, "Baker thought it inconceivable that Nixon would have taped his conversations if they contained anything incriminating. I agree d.... The more I thought about what had occurred, the more I considered the possibility that Butterfield had been sent to us as part of a strategy: the president was orchestrating the whole affair and had intended that the tapes be discovered." For that reason, the Republicans came to the same conclusion already reached by Dash and Ervin, that Butterfield should give his testimony in public as soon as possible.
Thompson may well have been correct that Butterfield had been sent to the committee as part of a strategy-but if he was, it was not the president's strategy.
That Saturday morning, as Baker met with his aides, Butterfield flew to New Hampshire to dedicate a new air traffic control facility in Nashua County, and he told us he was so unconcerned about his possible testimony to the Senate that he didn't even prepare for an appearance before the Senate.
"I didn't have the slightest clue" that the committee would call him to testify on Monday, he told us. "No, no-why would I ever do that? I didn't give it one goddamn thought. (Meeting with the Senate staffers) was just another session to me. I know for a fact that I never did anticipate being called by the committee. So I never would have written out any statements, or answers or comments or anything like that having to do with me testifying."
The day before Senate Watergate Committee minority counsel Fred Thompson made the inquiry that launched him into the national spotlight - asking an aide to President Nixon whether there was a White House taping system - he telephoned Nixon's lawyer.
Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions.
"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was."
Asked about the matter this week, Thompson -- who is preparing to run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination - responded via e-mail without addressing the specific charge of being a Nixon mole: "I'm glad all of this has finally caused someone to read my Watergate book, even though it's taken them over thirty years."
The view of Thompson as a Nixon mole is strikingly at odds with the former Tennessee senator's longtime image as an independent-minded prosecutor who helped bring down the president he admired. Indeed, the website of Thompson's presidential exploratory committee boasts that he "gained national attention for leading the line of inquiry that revealed the audio-taping system in the White House Oval Office." It is an image that has been solidified by Thompson's portrayal of a tough-talking prosecutor in the television series "Law and Order."
Essex Gardens Trust
Alison Moller has a master’s degree in Garden History from The Institute of Historical Research and is an active researcher and educator. She is also passionate about sharing her love of good wine. (Form an orderly queue!)
For an easy introduction to Garden History Jenny Uglow has written a very good account in A Little History of British Gardens, and Ambra Edwards has recently published The Story of the English Garden.
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Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722, in Boston, Massachusetts. Adams graduated from Harvard College in 1740, and would soon be known as a Patriot and one of the United States&aposਏounding Fathers.
A strong opponent of British taxation, Adams helped organize resistance in Boston to Britain&aposs Stamp Act of 1765. He also played a vital role in organizing the Boston Tea Party — an act of opposition to the Tea Act of 1773 — among various other political efforts.
Adams served as a legislator of Massachusetts from 1765 to 1774. Among his accomplishments, he founded Boston&aposs Committee of Correspondence, which — like similar entities in other towns across the Colonies — proved a powerful tool for communication and coordination during the American Revolutionary War.
The Electric Telegraph
In the early 19th century, two developments in the field of electricity opened the door to the production of the electric telegraph. First, in 1800, the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) invented the battery, which reliably stored an electric current and allowed the current to be used in a controlled environment. Second, in 1820, the Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851) demonstrated the connection between electricity and magnetism by deflecting a magnetic needle with an electric current. While scientists and inventors across the world began experimenting with batteries and the principles of electromagnetism to develop some kind of communication system, the credit for inventing the telegraph generally falls to two sets of researchers: Sir William Cooke (1806-79) and Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-75) in England, and Samuel Morse, Leonard Gale (1800-83) and Alfred Vail (1807-59) in the U.S.
In the 1830s, the British team of Cooke and Wheatstone developed a telegraph system with five magnetic needles that could be pointed around a panel of letters and numbers by using an electric current. Their system was soon being used for railroad signaling in Britain. During this time period, the Massachusetts-born, Yale-educated Morse (who began his career as a painter), worked to develop an electric telegraph of his own. He reportedly had become intrigued with the idea after hearing a conversation about electromagnetism while sailing from Europe to America in the early 1830s, and later learned more about the topic from American physicist Joseph Henry (1797-1878). In collaboration with Gale and Vail, Morse eventually produced a single-circuit telegraph that worked by pushing the operator key down to complete the electric circuit of the battery. This action sent the electric signal across a wire to a receiver at the other end. All the system needed was a key, a battery, wire and a line of poles between stations for the wire and a receiver.
The DAO’s Great Start Gone Wrong
However, on June 17, 2016, a hacker found a loophole in the coding that allowed him to drain funds from The DAO. In the first few hours of the attack, 3.6 million ETH were stolen, the equivalent of $70 million at the time. Once the hacker had done the damage he intended, he withdrew the attack.
In this exploit, the attacker was able to “ask” the smart contract (DAO) to give the Ether back multiple times before the smart contract could update its balance. Two main issues made this possible: the fact that when the DAO smart contract was created the coders did not take into account the possibility of a recursive call and the fact that the smart contract first sent the ETH funds and then updated the internal token balance.
It’s important to understand that this bug did not come from Ethereum itself, but from this one application that was built on Ethereum. The code written for The DAO had multiple flaws, and the recursive call exploit was one of them. Another way to look at this situation is to compare
Ethereum to the Internet and any application based on Ethereum to a website — If a site is not working, it doesn’t mean that the Internet is not working, it merely says that one website has a problem. The hacker stopped draining The DAO for unknown reasons, even though he could have continued to do so. The Ethereum community and team quickly took control of the situation and presented multiple proposals to deal with the exploit.
However, the funds were placed into an account subject to a 28 day holding period so the hacker couldn’t complete his getaway. To refund the lost money, Ethereum hard forked to send the hacked funds to an account available to the original owners. The token owners were given an exchange rate of 1 ETH to 100 DAO tokens, the same rate as the initial offering.
Unsurprisingly, the hack was the beginning of the end for the DAO. The hack itself was contested by many Ethereum users, who argued that the hard fork violated the basic tenets of blockchain technology. To make matters worse, on September 5, 2016, the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex delisted DAO tokens, with Kraken doing the same in December 2016.
All of these issues pale in comparison to the United States Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) ruling that was released on July 25, 2017. This report stated:
“Tokens offered and sold by a “virtual” organization known as “The DAO” were securities and therefore subject to the federal securities laws. The Report confirms that issuers of the distributed ledger or blockchain technology-based securities must register offers and sales of such securities unless a valid exemption applies. Those participating in unregistered offerings also may be liable for violations of the securities laws.”
In other words, The DAO’s offering was subject to the same regulatory principles of companies undergoing the initial public offering process. According to the SEC, The DAO violated federal securities laws, along with all of its investors.
The reason Samuel L. Jackson always says this word
Anyone who's even vaguely aware of Samuel L. Jackson work knows he's fond of one particular epithet. The actor has become synonymous with the word "motherf*****," a word that he'd used a total of 171 times on the big screen by 2014, according to HuffPost. He's added dozens more since then (Jackson used his favorite curse word a whopping 40 times in 2019's Shaft alone), but he isn't just doing it because he can pull it off like nobody else.
The reason Jackson uses the word so much is because it keeps the stutter he's suffered with since childhood at bay. "I stuttered for a long time, and it actually did help me stop," he told Vanity Fair. "It was spontaneous on how I discovered it — it was the word that hit me, and the word that kind of helped me stop stuttering with the d-d-d's and b-b-b's."
Jackson's stutter never went away, but he's learned to keep it under control with his go-to word. Speaking at the Shaft premiere (via Vanity Fair), the A-lister revealed that he's come to "embrace" the idea of "motherf*****" being his word, but he doesn't see what all the fuss is about. "For me, it's really just another word," he said. "Sometimes there's no better word than 'motherf*****' to describe someone or a situation. It's an all-encompassing word, so yelling it out is the way you say it, and it feels good."
Born in Bates County, Missouri, on Jan. 1, 1849, to Jeremiah and Mary Turner Burnett, Samuel Burk Burnett became one of the most well known and respected ranchers in Texas. His parents were in the farming business, but in 1857-58, conditions caused them to move from Missouri to Denton County, Texas, where Jerry Burnett became involved in the cattle business. Burk, 10 years old at the time of the move, began watching the nature of the cow business and learned from his father.
At age 19, Burk went into business for himself with the purchase of 100 head of cattle, which were wearing the 6666 brand. With the title to the cattle came ownership of the brand. Burnett survived the panic of 1873 by holding over 1,100 steers he had driven to market in Wichita, Kansas, through the winter. The next year, he sold the cattle for a profit of $10,000. He was one of the first ranchers in Texas to buy steers and graze them for market.
So Burnett negotiated with legendary Comanche Chief Quanah Parker (1845-1911) for the lease of the Indian lands. Not only was Burnett able to acquire the use of some 300,000 acres of grassland, he gained the friendship of the Comanche leader. Quanah’s mother was the white woman, Cynthia Ann Parker, who was captured in a raid on Parker’s Fort in 1836. She married Peta Nocona, war chief of the Noconi band of the Comanches. Quanah grew to be a great leader of his people and eventually a friend of white leaders and ranches in the Southwest.
Burnett kept running 10,000 cattle until the end of the lease. The cattle baron had a strong feeling for Indian rights, and his respect for these native peoples was genuine. Where other cattle kings fought Indians and the harsh land to build empires, Burnett learned Comanche ways, passing both the love of the land and his friendship with the Indians to his family. As a sign of their regard for Burnett, the Comanches gave him a name in their own language: “MAS-SA-SUTA,” meaning “Big Boss.”
The much-needed lease continued until the early 1900s at which time the federal government ordered the land turned back to the tribes. Burnett traveled to Washington, D.C., where he met with President Theodore Roosevelt to ask for an extension on the lease. Roosevelt gave the ranchers two more years, allowing them time to find new ranges for their herds.
In the spring of 1905, Roosevelt came west for a visit to the Indian lands and the ranchers whom he had helped. Burk Burnett, his son Tom, and a small group of ranchers entertained the old Roughrider in rugged Texas style. The highlight of the visit was an unusual bare-handed hunt for coyotes and wolves.
The friendship which developed between Burnett and the President grew. In fact, it was Roosevelt, during a trip to Texas in 1910, who encouraged the town of Nesterville to be renamed “Burkburnett” in honor of his friend.
As the 19th Century drew to a close, the end of the open range was apparent. The only protection the cowman had was the private ownership of land. A purchase around 1900 of the 8 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas, in King County from the Louisville Land and Cattle Co., and the Dixon Creek Ranch near Panhandle, Texas, from the Cunard Line marked the beginning of the Burnett Ranches empire. The 8 Ranch became the nucleus of the present day Four Sixes TM (6666) Ranch. These two large purchases, along with some later additions, amounted to a third of a million acres.
In his personal life, Burnett, at age 20, had married Ruth B. Loyd, daughter of Martin B. Loyd, founder of the First National Bank of Fort Worth. They had three children, two of whom, sadly, died young. Only their son Tom lived on to have a family and build his own ranching business. Burnett and Ruth later divorced, and he married Mary Couts Barradel in 1892. They had one son, Burk Burnett, Jr., who died in 1917.
Since 1900, Burnett had maintained a residence in Fort Worth, where his financial enterprises were headquartered. He was director and principal stockholder of the First National Bank of Fort Worth and President of the Ardmore Oil and Gin Milling Co. He made frequent trips to his ranches on his own custom-designed railroad car, carrying him from Fort Worth to Paducah, Texas. From there, he hitched his horse and buggy for the 30-mile drive south to Guthrie.
Burnett added to and developed his holdings, including the building of the Four Sixes Supply House and a new headquarters in Guthrie. In 1917, Burnett decided to build “the finest ranch house in West Texas” at Guthrie. It cost $100,000, an enormous sum for the time. Prestigious architectural firm Sanguiner and Staats of Fort Worth was hired to design a grand home to serve as ranch headquarters, to house the ranch manager and as a place to entertain guests. It was constructed with stone quarried right on the ranch. Other materials were brought in by rail car to Paducah, and then hauled by wagon to Guthrie.
With 11 bedrooms, it was, indeed, a favorite place to welcome guests. Burnett’s hospitality engaged such well-known visitors as President Roosevelt, Will Rogers and others. The home was filled with amazing items. In the main room, alone, visitors would see hunting trophies, exquisite art and personal items given to Burnett by his friend Quanah Parker and the Comanche chief’s wives. These priceless items remained in the house long after Burnett’s death and through several home remodeling projects. They were given by Burnett’s great-granddaughter, Anne W. Marion, to the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas. Also of interest to note is that although Burnett had a bedroom in the home’s southeast corner, he chose to sleep in the back room of the rudimentary Four Sixes Supply House, where he maintained his office.
In 1921, oil was discovered on Burnett’s land near Dixon Creek, and his wealth increased dramatically. This discovery, and a later one in 1969 on the Guthrie property, would greatly benefit the Burnett family ranching business as it grew and developed throughout the 20th Century.
Captain Samuel “Burk” Burnett passed away on June 27, 1922. His will provided for the appointment of two trustees to manage his holdings. They, along with their successors, ran the Four Sixes Ranch until 1980, when Burk Burnett’s great-granddaughter, Anne W. Marion, took the reins into her capable hands.
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BBC2's 'Summer of Rockets' Took Some Inspiration From These Two Real-Life Inventors
The brand new BBC drama Summer of Rockets follows the story of the ambitious Samuel Petrukhin, an inventor and designer who is approached by MI5 to show off his skills for a secretly assigned mission. The series is set in Cold War Britain, and stars the likes of Toby Stephens, Keeley Hawes, and Linus Roache. But is Summer of Rockets based on a true story? Here's everything you need to know about this brilliant new drama.
It's currently not known whether or not all the characters and specific plot lines included within the new series have emerged from true events. I have reached out to the BBC for comment, and will update with any new information when it becomes available. However, the backdrop of Summer of Rockets is indeed based on a true story. According to the Express, the BBC drama is based in 1950s London during the Cold War, and is set against the backdrop of real-life events including the UK's testing of its first ever hydrogen bomb, the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the Soviets launching their first ballistic missile.
According to Variety, the show's executive producer, Helen Flint, previously described the show's backdrop as being "hinged at the pivotal point of world history where the past and future are pulling in equal strength, and human beings, young and old, have little control over the eventual outcome."
The synopsis continues: "Yet it is not his inventions the operatives require — instead, Samuel is tasked with the secret mission of obtaining information about his charming, newly acquired friends Kathleen, played by Keeley Hawes, and her husband Richard Shaw MP, played by Linus Roache, through whom Samuel also meets the impressive Lord Arthur Wallington, played by Timothy Spall. As Samuel’s life becomes more and more intertwined with his mission, how far is he willing to let things unravel for his cause? And who can he truly trust?"
Series creator Stephen Poliakoff has also revealed that Summer of Rockets is "semi-autobiographical," reports the Radio Times, and offers "a personal insight into this unforgettable time in British history, through a lens very close to his heart." As mentioned previously, the series tells the story of Samuel Petrukhin, an inventor of bespoke hearing aids — a character based on the show-creator's father, Alexander Poliakoff. Speaking about the real-life inspiration behind the character, Poliakoff said: "The Toby Stephens, Samuel, side of this first part especially is largely true. My father and grandfather invented the pager… they went to St Thomas’s and there were all these bells ringing, and these tannoy announcements, and they said, 'We could do this better for you.'"
Back in 1847 Morse, already a wealthy man, had bought Locust Grove, an estate overlooking the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie, New York. The next year he married Sarah Elizabeth Griswold, a second cousin 26 years his junior. The couple had four children together. In the 1850s, he built an Italian villa-style mansion on the Locust Grove property and spent his summers there with his large family of children and grandchildren, returning each winter to his brownstone in New York.