Friday, February 19, 2010

The Seven Ages of..... England.

Last Sunday, I watched the third in the series of David Dimbleby's BBC series 'The Seven Ages of Britain'.

And to be truthful, I am still waiting to see it..... The 'Britain' part of the show, that is.

Because so far, it's been the three ages of England all the way. And a butchers at the BBC's blurb per iplayer edition attempts to reinforce that old habit of the Corporation in trying to Britify everything that is English....

1/7. Britain's story through art and treasure, from the Roman invasion to the Norman Conquest...
Yeah, well actually apart from a cursory reference to the Roman influence in Scotland and Wales, the opening episode of the series concentrated on the treasures of England. It's definitely England's story told through some amazing objects including the head of Emperor Hadrian found in the river Thames, the Mildenhall Treasure found in Suffolk, the World's oldest surviving bible written and illustrated in Northumbria and the fantastic Royal treasure of King Raedwald at Sutton Hoo.... in East Anglia... (that's in England you know!)

Then Dave cuts to the Ashmolean in Oxford, dons his white gloves and starts to excitedly fondle the Alfred Jewel (which possibly hadn't been fondled since Alfred's Queen had a go some 1,200 years ago). It was dug up in the 17th century from an Oxfordshire field...in England. Finally we're over to Bayeaux, France to have a look at the Tapestry - needlework completed by English Saxon women of Suffolk and Essex some dozen years after the Conquest.... (If the Elgin Marbles ever get given back, I think we should have the Tapestry repatriated)...

2/7. Britain's art from the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170 to the death of Richard II in 1400. Wrong BBC! It's more England stuff and in particular, English art. Dave is seen swooning beneath the magnificent hammer beam roof in Westminster Hall, the Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral, a crown from the Crown Jewels of Richard II as well as the King's very own travelling altar piece..... amongst other English stuff...


3/7. Spanning from Henry VIII's accession in 1509 to Shakespeare's Henry VIII 100 years later. You've guessed it! More English art. The amazing Drake Jewel had Dave slavering - and the best miniature portrait painter ever, Englishman Edward Hilliard was given suitable emanence.... Admittedly, there was a bit of a feature about court painter Hans Holbein - but I thought he was a German rather than hailing from the Rhondda or the Gorbals...

The next programme is all about the English Civil War. So that'll mean yet more stuff from England then?

The Drake Jewel.

1 comment:

Toque said...

It's almost completely England, isn't it.

Dimblebum went to Iona to look at a Cross planted there by St Columba, or some other Irish bloke, and he had trips to Italy and Germany to look at an English bible and English crown.

Otherwise he's just been pootling around England saying 'Britain' a lot.