Tuesday, 9 March 2010

David Dimbleby says TV fills in for history lessons

See here BBC News Tuesday, 9 March 2010

' History programmes on television are filling in the gaps in children's knowledge of the subject, says veteran BBC presenter David Dimbleby.

In an interview in the Radio Times he said the treatment of history in the curriculum had been "less impressive". Dimbleby said the popularity of TV history documentaries showed people had a genuine interest in the cultural heritage of the country.

Dimbleby is currently presenting the Seven Ages of Britain on BBC One.

In a question and answer interview in the Radio Times, the broadcaster said: "The success of Seven Ages and and other programmes - by Andrew Marr, Simon Schama and David Starkey - suggests to me that there is a great and perhaps growing interest in our history.
"Maybe we are filling in the gaps left by the less impressive treatment of history in the school curriculum."
Dimbleby also defended the presentation of history programming by non-academics.
"There is a place for the specialist, of course, but there is a place too for the broadcaster with a general layman's curiosity and interest," he said.
"Neither should exclude the other."...

I don't know what history is taught in schools these days, but what I've seen of the accompanying key stage resources it seems to be pretty limited. We record masses of tv documentaries, primarily - but not exculsively - historical ones. And for the most part they are informative and interesting. Not all are enjoyed by the kids, but the ones that they do enjoy really give them a taste for all things historical.

Documentaries we've been watching recently :
'Seven Ages of Britain' (BBC)
'Industrial Revelations' (Quest),
oh and I've just recorded the start of the new space documentary series: 'Wonders of the solar system' which also looks fab.
And we are revisiting the series 'The 1900s House' and 'The 1940s House', thanks to the loan of DVDs from a friend (thank you !).


Alternicity said...

Nature and wildlife programs too!
My pair often prefer them to cartoons.

MadameSmokinGun said...

David Starkey and Simon Schama are gods in our house (although only to us grownups) I WANTED to like David Dimblebums programmes but found his mix of telling me what something I'm looking at looks like in patronisingly head-melting detail one minute and then dismissively referring to a whole era of some dynasty as if 'we' know all about THAT lot the next to be exceeeeeeedingly irritating - almost as irritating as the obligatory bloody sweeping music the BBC sticks over all their blinking factuals. Didn't get past the first episode.

Now show my biggest boy a badger with one ear dangling off or a deer with half a head and he's right there. Dog Whisperer is God Whisperer. Polar bears, meerkats, dung beetles, amoeba all welcome.

Big mamma frog said...

Yeah couldn't get on with Simon Schmwa or whatever his name is. Dunno why, just irritated the heck out of me.

And David Dimbleby would normally do the same, but when (in one of the episodes) he was mauling the oldest known bible with ungloved hands - and it wasn't even on a book stand - yikes! - I decided he must be the ultimate rebel. Either that or everyone thinks he's god and can do what he likes.

Oh and who's that really smiley professor bloke doing the Solar system one at the moment? Can't work out whether I want to like him or stab him. Reminds me of that ethnobotanist blokey who did the Grow your Own Drugs series. Hmmm...jury still out.

Ah well, perhaps it's me who needs these programmes more than my kids. Prior to home education all I remember about history from school is that when the history teacher appeared two-thirds of the class climbed out the classroom windows. It was amusing, but I was probably a bit distracted to learn much.

p.s. yes caesar dog whisperer was god for a while in our house. We adopted that whole mantra of 'exercise, discipline, affection'. It seems to work better for the kids than it does for the dog.

Carolyn said...

We go in for a lot of historical viewing here too. Victorian Farm was another favourite.
At school I seem to remember Tom telling me that they were watching Gladiator in their history lessons in his first term at secondary school. I wonder how many had already seen it or spent all their time out of school staring at a screen? Surely there was a more hands on way to appreciate it!!
He only lasted a term there before he joined us at home. After all if he wants to, he can watch it at home...along with Troy, Braveheart, and any other of those 'historical' blockbuster films!!

Alternicity said...

I agree with MadameSmokingGun..

I can remember thinking the Dimbleby shows were inferior because of his patronizing attitude.
I have thought the same about Question Time.

I would say that even better for us than the historical tv programs has been the pc games Rome TW, and Civilization 4. We all learn lots from those, and then look it all up on wikipedia.

Jax said...

Am also in the "how patronising is David Dimbleby" camp.

Brian Cox is the wonders of the universe guy iirc, think he is just really thrilled to be sharing something he finds fascinating. Me and the kids watched his solar prog this week, in HD at that, and it was very good.