Monday, May 28, 2012

A Great British Story?

I think we can all agree that the Welsh, the Irish and the Picts inhabited the British Isles before the coming of the Romans.  DNA throws up new discoveries every week but even so there seems to be a consensus that the greater part of the English population can also trace its roots in these islands to pre-Roman times.  Given these facts why on earth would the new BBC television series The Great British Story presented by historian Michael Wood ignore all this and start a series about British* history with the Romans?

Now I usually enjoy Wood's TV work but the first episode of his new series was a mess.  It seemed to me that Wood's common sense had collided with the usual BBC agenda - patricianism, big-Europeanism and the virtues of multiculturalism: well cheap domestic labour, exotic restaurants and villas in Tuscany anyway.  No wonder they think British history began with Rome.

*Of course I mean British in the geographical sense, since as a political reality you'd have to wait until the 18C before Britishness was invented.

UPDATE:  The second part of this show was .....well another fine mess.  Basque is not a Celtic language as someone in a Llangrannog pub suggested and the Scots (AKA Irish) weren't from Strathclyde as Michael Wood said at one point.  Never mind, no-one noticed, not even on twitter, and the programme does fulfil its primary purpose - to push an agenda of the aptly named BBC.

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