Category Archives: public history

When was the greatest time in history to be alive? Ask the Harappans

Hi, I was recently asked in an interview when in history was the greatest time to be alive? It’s a very difficult question to answer, so I rambled on a bit, but – when pushed – I thought a person would have had a good shot of a decent life in Bronze Age India, during the time…

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Which Big Tent Cost More: #GBBO or Henry VIII’s Field of Cloth of Gold?

Hi! I saw BBC sports journalist Dan Walker tweet this lovely joke about the Great British Bake Off this morning, and it instantly got me thinking. In terms of very expensive tents, history is full of them – Genghis Khan had one, and so did King Xerxes of Persia (it was captured by the enemy,…

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Should TV Dramas & Films Be Historically Accurate?

VERSAILLES – VICTORIA – POLDARK – RIPPER STREET – PEAKY BLINDERS – MAD MEN – REIGN – LINCOLN – THE BIG SHORT – SPOTLIGHT – BRAVEHEART – THE IMITATION GAME – THE BUTLER These are all high profile historical dramas/films. But here’s a question for you: “…should TV dramas & movies be historically accurate?” ——————————————————– As you…

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VERSAILLES TV Drama on BBC2: The Real History Behind The Show

Introduction Hello! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed watching BBC Two’s Versailles TV drama. Coming from the quills of noted showrunners David Wolstencroft and Simon Mirren, both known for gripping series with a conspiratorial bent (i.e. Spooks), it was no surprise when this drama arrived with a hearty dollop of sex, violence, tension, and intrigue. Speaking as a neutral TV…

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Who Was Worse – Henry VIII or Ivan the Terrible?

This recent survey by the Historical Writers Association has declared Henry VIII the “worst monarch in history”. I, like many historians on Twitter, find this a fairly ridiculous thing to state – not least because what is being measured when we say “worst”? Is it a moral question, or one of political success? And is…

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The Richard III Reburial: What Does It Say About Us?

So, the Richard III reburial, eh? Let’s be honest, who among us expected that the first televised funeral of a British monarch, that we would see in our lifetimes, would be that of a man who died five centuries ago? I’m pretty sure we all would have bet the house on our beloved nonagenarian Queen…

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