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Dan Jones (again)

His current Channel Five series (Secrets of Great British Castles, Fridays, 20:00) is quite informative in parts. However, as a Starkey protege, Jones relies on fairly simplistic views and  with his pre-selected one-dimensional heroes and villains, the latter including John (from the opener on Dover) as well as Edward II (mentioned in at least three episodes) and Richard III (The Tower).

The most recent episode featured Caernarfon Castle in Gwynedd, its foundation under Edward I, as the birthplace of his heir and successor, the strategic importance under the Madog and Glyndwr rebellions and the investiture of Princes of Wales there since 1911. The myths of Owain Tudor’s Welsh Royal descent and his “relations” with the widowed Catherine de Valois, who was legally debarred from remarrying, were given an airing – he was actually descended from Llewellyn Fawr’s steward, unlike the Mortimer-Yorks who were descended from Llewellyn’s daughter. The Civil War sieges were barely mentioned.

Given Jones’ own Welsh ancestry – his great uncle is Lord Chalfont (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alun_Gwynne_Jones,_Baron_Chalfont) – it was disappointing not to see him attempt more authentic pronunciation, given that less qualified and less connected writers have done so recently.

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