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to think the BBC's First world war coverage should be fronted by proper historians?

(40 Posts)
ComposHat Wed 05-Feb-14 18:13:05

Not media types like Dan Snow, Gareth Malone, Jeremy Paxman. Okay Kate Adie at a push as she's been in and out of war zones, do they thinkthe viewing public are so shallow that they can't comprehend or appreciate history unless it is dished up by a celebrity.

DrNick Wed 05-Feb-14 18:13:42

how does going in and out of a war zone make you a historian?

plus where does historian stop and celebrity start?

FrankelInFoal Wed 05-Feb-14 18:15:09

Didn't Kate Adie write a book about women's role in war ?

Isn't Dan Snow is a military historian too.

FrankelInFoal Wed 05-Feb-14 18:17:28

Kate Adie's book

Dan Snow has presented lots of history programmes.

Agree about Gareth Malone and Paxman though.

DrNick Wed 05-Feb-14 18:18:04

writing a book would therefore make Paxo a historian?

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 05-Feb-14 18:22:18

Dan Snow is a military history specialist, and his great great grandfather ran the British end of WWI (as Chancellor/Minister for Munitions/Minister for War/Prime Minister) while his great grandfather commanded a corps at the Somme.

fedupandfifty Wed 05-Feb-14 18:23:25

Yanbu, kind of. I don't see why a documentary has to be fronted by anyone, though. What's wrong with an old-fashioned voiceover?

hootloop Wed 05-Feb-14 18:24:57

Paxman's book on the the British empire is recommended reading on my OU history course.

ComposHat Wed 05-Feb-14 18:33:40

No none of them are trained historians. Paxman and Snow have written books because they are Paxman and Snow, not because they've been rigorously trained and have the academic credentials and publishing track records to prove it. I would be amazed if their cash in books are properly sourced and referenced.

It showed last night when Paxman presented if not quute dishonest, but certainly misunderstood or misleading information about the Pankhursts.

I get pissed off beyond reason at thesr bogus claims to knowledge.

motherinferior Wed 05-Feb-14 18:40:57

Paxo's Empire book (I have already ranted about this on another thread today) is pants of a pantitude that frankly even I could write and I'm not a historian.

I fail to see why Having Important Ancestors qualifies you as a historian.

WRT the OP, I am not absolutely sure I agree as many historians IME do lack a certain TV presentability you should see my ex but I take the overall point. There is a crossover, like Bettany Hughes, which is presumably a Rich Seam to Mine.

We need more Mary Beards, in this as in so much else.

FrankelInFoal Wed 05-Feb-14 18:43:25

Dan Snow does at least have a degree in Modern History <ducks>

ComposHat Wed 05-Feb-14 18:47:12

Yes so do thousands of other people. An undergraduate history degree doesn't make you an authority.

ConferencePear Wed 05-Feb-14 18:47:52

I don't see what Snow's antecedents have to do with anything. I have a great-uncle buried in the British Military Cemetery in Baghdad - it doesn't make me an expert on Iraq, or Mesopotamia as it was called in the First World War.

treas Wed 05-Feb-14 18:48:17

Actually Paxman is a good presenter although he does have a tendence to editorialise and I get fed up of him telling me what I should be thinking even though I may have already been thinking it

TSSDNCOP Wed 05-Feb-14 18:55:46

The Paxman series is excellent. I've watched both episodes and was thoroughly interested. I'm looking forward to the next.

He delivers it in a way that I think would appeal to younger people too, which is surely the point as time passes.

For the record I loved the Andrew Marr history programmes too.

hootloop Wed 05-Feb-14 18:57:55

I have a historically kind of important ancestor and am half way to a history degree. Am I half a historian?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Feb-14 18:58:27

Some of the best ones I've seen have been presented by Jeremy Clarkson. He's very knowledgeable about the subject, well researched, passionate, writes his own stuff.

I thought Paxman has been good overall although I agree he shouldn't tell us what to think so much - as a pacifist and Quaker I was rather annoyed with him saying that he'd always thought of absolute pacifists (those that refused to help the war effort in any way and were therefore often sent to prison for their beliefs and stand) as "cranks" Personally I think that's disrespectful of those who even at the time were recognised as "conscientious objectors"
Otherwise I thought the coverage of conscientious objection on Monday's programme was very interesting.
I think he also said that it was a war that we had to fight, which again I think is certainly a matter of opinion.

DrNick Wed 05-Feb-14 19:07:52

lol at Mesopotamia

TheCraicDealer Wed 05-Feb-14 19:11:08

I'd understand where you're coming from if it was saaaaaay Myleene Klass presenting it, but that lot are alright. Presenting is harder than it looks (so I'm told) and it's probably quite difficult to get someone with the credentials you want that can engage an audience without boring the tits off them. Mary Beard, Starkey and Schama are obviously exceptions to that.

With the centenary coming up they're probably anxious to get recognisable names in to present these things rather than take a punt on a newbie. I can't really think of a well known historian that specialises in WW1. Also I will watch anything with Dan Snow in it because he is foxy [lowers the tone]

eddiemairswife Wed 05-Feb-14 19:15:52

I agree Viva. I'm not a Top Gear fan', but I have really enjoyed the documentaries I have seen Jeremy Clarkson present.

Whocansay Wed 05-Feb-14 20:09:03

Well I'm really enjoying the current series with JP. It's not something I know a great deal about and he's making it really interesting for ignorant oiks such as myself.

And I thought his books were pretty good too.

You, OP, sound like a big, fat, intellectual snob.

I wouldn't class a celebrated journalist and author as a celebrity either.

(And I liked the Jeremy Clarkson programme about Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the 'Great Britons' series, so ner!) grin

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 05-Feb-14 20:11:46

I think I've struggled more with 'proper historians' than not on occasion. David Starkey is a 'proper historian' but uses the credibility that gives him to be a misogynistic arsehole, for example.

I find the tie-in books more of an issue.

mrspremise Wed 05-Feb-14 20:12:51

at least it's not Claudia Winkleman or fucking Fearne bloody Cotton

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 05-Feb-14 20:15:48

Clarkson's piece on Brunel was a lot better than Tristram "actual historian me" Hunt's hatchet job on Isaac Newton for Great Britons. Never forgiven Hunt for that.

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