Ever since childhood days in Connecticut, watching New York channels 11 (I think – it was sponsored by the school system or education department) and 13 (WNET, PBS before there was PBS), I’ve had a nagging fondness for “educational television.” So from time to time I sample some on DVD. I like a varied diet of film, so it’s quite a while since I watched Discs 1 and 2 of Simon Schama’s series. Disc 3 includes The Body of the Queen, the last episode of season 1, plus The British Wars and Revolutions, the first two in season 2.
A History of Britain (2000 and after) is a good, and reasonably entertaining, introduction to British history, mingling Schama’s visits to famous places with reenactments and artifacts from the period to keep the viewer interested. Occasionally the reenactments were so realistic that I had to close my eyes. And then there were the times that my eyes closed on their own. To be fair, that was partly physiological and partly because, having taken an excellent course on Tudor and Stuart history, there was little new information for me in these particular episodes, which span the period from Elizabeth I to William and Mary. I do enjoy seeing the places where things happened. And the music that accompanies the series is lovely and haunting. I’ll be watching the rest of the episodes some time in the not-too-distant future.