Segments in this Video

Benjamin Zephaniah: Introduction (01:21)


Benjamin Zephaniah, a well-loved and popular poet, visits the British Library to explore his personal and professional histories.

Treasure One: Inspiration (07:35)

Zephaniah believes rebels inspired all social movements throughout history. He learns more about Robert Kett, the leader of an important Tudor movement.

Treasure Two: Worldview (03:20)

Studying maps has always fascinated Zephaniah. Tom Carper, maps curator, shows him ancient Chinese maps. Maps from certain eras were a type of iconography rather than used for travel purposes.

Treasure Three: Sport (06:38)

A love of soccer led Zephaniah to sponsoring a women's team. He discovers a time in British history when women’s football was more popular than men’s.

Treasure Four: Compassion (08:56)

Zephaniah has a passion for fighting for the rights of refugees. Andrea Clarke, medieval manuscripts curator, shows him a speech written by William Shakespeare for Thomas Moore during the Evil May Day Riots.

Treasure Five: Collecting (06:00)

As a banknote collector, Zephaniah wants to see the British Library’s collection of money. Richard Morel, philatelic collections curator, shows Zephaniah one of the world's oldest bank notes dating from the Ming Dynasty.

Treasure Six: Hero (06:28)

Zephaniah admires Percy Bysshe Shelley. Alexander Locke, manuscripts curator, shows Zephaniah a letter from Percy to his second wife Mary Shelley. The British Library also has locks of Mary and Percy’s hair and Percy’s ashes.

Benjamin Zephaniah's Donation (02:27)

Helen Melody, library archives coordinator, accepts Zephaniah’s donation of a hand written poem “What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us.” Zephaniah also submits a personal video record of his reasons for writing the poem.

Credits: Benjamin Zephaniah (00:37)

Credits: Benjamin Zephaniah

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Benjamin Zephaniah

Part of the Series : Treasures of the British Library
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The British Library’s vaults hold a staggering record of the UK, and the world’s culture, history and society. The collections range from maps to stamps, scientific discoveries to illuminated Bibles, Anne Boleyn’s handwriting and Oscar Wilde’s tales. Now radical poet Benjamin Zephaniah will delve into this truly unique store house, finding six individual treasures that speak to him. Benjamin is a passionate believer that libraries are the true universities of the streets—now he has the chance explore the greatest library on Earth. Each item Benjamin discovers taps into one of his greatest interests and passions. A private obsession with banknote collecting leads to one of the very first ever printed; and passion for rebels leads him to an oak tree in Norfolk and the handwritten demands of the Tudor rebels who met there. There are surprises in store—revelations about Benjamin’s hero, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the handwriting of Shakespeare himself.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL145862

ISBN: 978-1-64198-905-3

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.