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History in Films and on Television History in Films and on TV - Documentary Films, Historical Dramas, and history programs on PBS and the History Channel


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Old November 14th, 2016, 01:19 AM   #11

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If you care to know about comprehensive world history, then John Green's series on youtube is a good starting point. 42 short videos which keep one engaged. His perspective is slightly different from European historians because he is an American.





I have also watched Michael Wood's six-part series 'The Story of India' (2007). A good overview, because 'overview' is what one can do in six-hours on India. His visits to different locations in India-Pakistan and narrative style keeps interest alive. Obviously avoids controversial statements which is essential for a public video.

Last edited by Rajeev; November 14th, 2016 at 01:24 AM.
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Old November 14th, 2016, 01:25 AM   #12

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John Green has additional 30 videos on World History which I have not watched but may be equally interesting:




Further and 48 videos on US history.
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Old November 14th, 2016, 01:37 AM   #13

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Jonathan Meades, a bit of a poseur, but a genuine original and highly literate man who makes memorable programmes on historical matters, typically centred around architectural matters:




Simon Schama is very good on painters:

Schama on Rembrandt, Masterpieces of the Late Years - Vědeo Dailymotion
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Old November 14th, 2016, 10:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Corbulo View Post
In sharp contrast to Michael Woods we have another British historian, the emminent "David Starkey". A legend in his own mind ! Now I am not saying that Professor Starkey lacks for intelligence far from it. However a more pompous, conceited, arrogant, pretentious historian you will be hard pushed to find? Prof Starkey has interests and valid qualifications in many era's of history. His speciality though is the "Tudors" and dont we know it! Many a time I have found myself wondering why I was still listening to him? Watching him fawn over Henry VIII and Elizabeth I really gives me the boke. If he was alive then at Henry's court he would be the proverbial "Toady" trying to squirm his way into Henry's good books. Yet I think it was his documentary on the "Venerable Bede" that really grinds my gears. Apparently "Bede" according to "Starkey" Was the first ever to use the venacular ! Completely dissing the Irish monks who had done this centuries before. However I could not help myself from laughing when "Brian Cox" (The actor) blew him away on the "BBC's Question Time".

So that is for me the best and the worst of TV Historians it would be interesting to find out who floats your Viking longship or who is the Titanic of TV historians.
Your criticism of David Starkey seems more motivated by the your dislike or disagrrment with the persons he has a regard for than his skill as a historian.

Bede is only one of 50 or so persons in history named a Doctor of the Church, an honor granted to no one of the Irish monks you laud. And his famous "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" is a much better and more widely know work than those previous Irish monks you refer to, whose historical works are only one step up from legend. His "On Reckoning of Time" on how to calculate Easter, mention of a spherical earth and how it explained the change in the length of day, was a very popular work in the middle ages and required reading in the middle ages. In works geared toward the general public, you can't always cover everything, and it is not fair to criticize a historian for concentrating on more famous and influential persons like Bede at the expense of persons of lesser importance.


I like Michael Woods too. One tv historian I liked was James Burke in his "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed". I like how he showed how one discovery or invention led to another. That showing how things were connected historically is something you don't see in most historical works.

Last edited by Bart Dale; November 14th, 2016 at 11:11 PM.
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Old November 15th, 2016, 01:38 AM   #15

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I'm a lot of impressed by Johh Green's videos posted by @Rajeev.
Not only i'm keen on world history but i feel that these videos are moderns, interestings, relevants, pleasants.
Thank you.

Last edited by phil1904; November 15th, 2016 at 01:42 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2016, 07:37 PM   #16

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I don't know that I have any "worst" presenters, probably because I stop watching if I'm really annoyed.
David White and Stephen David who wrote and produced "The World Wars" miniseries on the History Channel. So many historical errors that started to get annoying
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Old December 8th, 2016, 12:42 PM   #17
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For my money ya can't beat Ken Burns when it comes to historical documentaries.

I just finished watching his doc on Baseball. And I own on DVD his films on Jazz and on the Civil War. He has never done anything that was less than Emmy quality excellence.

I keep hoping he will do one on The History of Rock n Roll.
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Old December 9th, 2016, 05:30 AM   #18
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I like Lucy Worsley

and Ken Burns is good
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Old December 9th, 2016, 07:49 AM   #19
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I found his doc on Cleopatra cringe-worthy. It completely ignored the fact that the Ptolemaic dynasty was Greek and it tried to portray Arsinoe has an "innocent victim, rather than just another schemer and plotter, who was no better than Cleopatra herself.

don't get me started. he inferred, from the fact that there were goods originating in India that ended up in Sweden, and Norse coins that ended up in Egypt, that 'The Vikings were at the centre of a Trading Empire that stretched across most of the known globe'
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 02:40 AM   #20
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I like Mary Beard - English Classical scholar -
I love her humor and I love her love for History
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