History programmes

Must all history programming be ‘relevant’?

When it comes to history programming, television’s loss is increasingly audio’s gain. People moan to me most weeks over the lack of really good, rigorous, eye-opening documentaries on the screen, and I can only nod along in agreement. Oh for a Kenneth Clark-style lecture! More Michael Wood! There’s an especially strong appetite for the adventurous commissions of the 1990s and 2000s. It’s principally podcasts, now, that are pouring into this void. Stephen Fry’s Edwardian Secrets, a 12-episode sequel to his previous series on the Victorians, even sounds like an extended BBC4 documentary, replete with talking heads, choral background music and just a dash of Horrible Histories. Unfortunately, it also suffers