After studying and reading, teaching and tutoring, lecturing and writing about history for 60 years, from 1953 until 2013, I have come to appreciate more and more the television documentaries on the subject. Many docos have appeared during my retirement from the classroom and the lecture-hall. Since I left teaching FT, PT and in a volunteer capacity during the years 1999 to 2005, a wealth of history programs have come my way on Australian television.
Seven Ages of Britainis a BBC television documentary series which is written and presented by David Dimbleby(1938- ), a British BBC TV commentator and a presenter of current affairs and political programmes. This seven part series was first aired on BBC One in 2010.The series covered the history of Britain's greatest art and artefacts over the past 2000 years. Each episode covered a different period in British history. In Australia the episodes aired on ABC1 in 2010 and again in the first months of 2013. By 2010 I had freed myself, not only from my employment life, but also most of the responsibilities in my community life as a Baha’i after more than 50 years of membership.
Seven Ages followed-on from the success of David Dimbleby's previous two BBC One landmark arts series, A Picture Of Britain – tracing the history of landscape painting and How We Built Britain, a history of British architecture, one of the first arts programmes to reach 5 million viewers. Seven Ages looked at history’s extraordinary legacy through the arts, both as objects that have often played a decisive part in events and as marvels of their age. Our host roams from Italy to Germany, Turkey to India, and America to Britain tracking down astonishing artefacts that encapsulate events in Britain.
This is a journey revealing objects of great beauty and craftsmanship that define who the British are and who they were. The objects pay testament, through Dimbleby’s fine appreciation of history, to the great events that formed the nation. Dimbleby said: "Seven Ages Of Britain proved to be an exhilarating quest. The television camera offered a spectacular view of some of Britain’s most precious national treasures. It allowed viewers to see them in ways beyond the reach of the human eye as the story of Britain’s history unfolded over two thousand years through the art created in good times and bad." –Ron Price with thanks to ABC1 on 28/2/’13.
There was so much learning and teaching over those 60 years…it gave me an appreciation of docos like Dimbleby’s as he survey parts of history that came into my life all the way from my childhood to late adulthood. There is always so much to learn in any discipline and history provides a bottomless-pit of stuff.
It settles on the brain like pieces fitting into a great architectural construction always adding more and more, rooms and new walls, ceilings & floors given more detail, sharp contours, and shades of colour, textures, tone and manner of speaking, a limitless city of wealth and beauty for the mind and heart to gaze at: behold and wonder at the story’s delight.
Ron Price 1 March 2013
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