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Archive for the tag “Dan Jones”

Rei(g)ned in?

I don’t know how to tell you this but Dan Jones has made further appearances on our television screens this spring. Thankfully, both C5 three-part series have featured him as a sidekick to Suzannah Lipscomb, so his prejudices against various monarchs have had little exercise.
The first of these was about Elizabeth I, featured Lily Cole so the make-up bill was probably limited to a tin or two of Cuprinol. It covered Elizabeth’s life quite well although I learned much less than their series on Henry VIII.
The second series moved on to the Great Fire of London and Jones must be annoyed that he couldn’t vent his theory that Richard III came back to life and carelessly discarded a cigarette butt. By including Rob Bell, an engineer who explained the scientific details of the fire and its effects, in the presentation team makes it much more of a team affair and there was a lot more informative detail from that momentous week. Perhaps it could have been made nine months earlier and broadcast on the 350th anniversary?

 

A lesson in disposing of That Urn…!

Henry_VII_Chapel_Westminster_Abbey-1000x520

Here is an excellent account of That Urn at Westminster Abbey. It demolishes all the “Tudor” flimflam, and entertains as it does so. Read, enjoy and digest, in connection with this.

If you have watched …

… Channel Five’s http://www.channel5.com/show/secrets-of-great-british-castles, let me reassure you of something.

There really was a king named Richard III and Dan Jones has simply forgotten to mention him.

Episode 2 was about Cardiff Castle, where Richard and Anne have a window devoted to them (seasons-greetings-2016-a-2).

Episode 3 was about the structure at York, or Clifford’s Tower as it is now called, which Richard frequented during his dozen years as Lord President of the Council of the North, whilst the city walls had borne the detached heads of his uncle, father (the Duke of York) and brother. Then again, “King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us was, through grete treason, piteously slane and murdred to the grete hevynesse of this citie”., as their macebearer John Spooner recorded soon after Bosworth.

So Richard played a very real part in the history of both cities.

There have been a few interesting parts to this series – the “Black Dinner” with James II and the Douglases at Edinburgh Castle, Curthose held and Llewellyn Bren executed at Cardiff, the witchcraft charges against Joan of Navarre and Eleanor Cobham at Leeds, John starving various enemies to death at Lancaster and elsewhere, together with Robert Aske’s execution and Margaret Clitherow’s death in York, although Henry of Huntingdon could have been mentioned in conjunction with the latter. There has, however, been too much posing by Jones in his leather jacket, T-shirt and jeans firing arrows and trying on armour as the camera focussed on the other historians, includding Hutton, Morris and Capwell being older than him, together with too much dramatisatisation of Jones’ tendentious interpretation of events. The myth of Catherine de Valois and Owain Tudor, from the Leeds episode, is another case in point.

It isn’t that difficult to make a favourable reference to Richard III, surely? Then again, given what Jones has said about John and Edward II, perhaps it is better this way.cliffordstower

“Henry VIII and his six wives” – Channel Five

Henry VIII and His Six Wives

This has been presented by two of Five’s favourite history presenters: Dan Jones and Suzannah Lipscomb. Perhaps the title isn’t the best of starts, as Ashdown-Hill (Royal Marriage Secrets, ch.10, pp.95-113) has shown that Henry may have contracted as few as two valid marriages, the third and sixth ceremonies.

Jones begins every episode by reciting the familiar mnemonic, although the fact that four of the marriages were annulled and none really ended in “divorce” is not mentioned. It is clear, from Jones’ description of Henry as “England’s most notorious King”, a “monster” and a “tyrant”, that he likes the “Tudors” no more than he does their Plantagenet predecessors.

The series starts well with a detailed discussion of Catherine of Aragon’s relationships with Arthur and Henry, including her years as a virtual prisoner from 1502-9 and her subsequent fertility, although Arthur’s boasts are not mentioned. Then the annulment campaign begins and Anne Boleyn is introduced. Here, the pace of the series moves on a little to her end and Wolsey is scarcely mentioned. Torture is shown being applied to one of her lovers but they are executed off camera. Jane Seymour’s time is used to illustrate Henry’s positive emotions although Anne of Cleves is portrayed like a badly-designed doll as Henry once again strives for a legal loophole and Cromwell is despatched for not finding one. As late as 1541, Henry is shown doing the sign of the cross.

Catherine Howard then flits across the screen, raising Henry’s blood pressure further, writing silly letters and having a block delivered to her Tower cell for “practice”, although her relationship with Dereham is not fully explored. Catherine Parr, Catherine of Aragon’s goddaughter, is then shown as restoring Henry’s equilibrium and giving the Reformation a further boost, as Bishop Gardiner tries to persuade him to complete a hat-trick of executed “wives”. Henry resists and dies peacefully.

This subject was covered in 2001 on Channel Four by Jones’ mentor David Starkey who, despite his misconceptions of the previous years , knows the reign of Henry VIII inside out.

Sherlock: The Mystery of the Princes

Giaconda's Blog

sherlock head

Sherlock and Watson are looking for a killer. There has to be a killer or killers because Dan Jones said that ‘The Princes Must Die’ (episode three of Britain’s Bloodiest Crown) and after the Christmas special they are able to time travel which is just as well as they need to whizz back to late C15th England in order to solve the case.

The Game is On!

The list of suspects is fairly normal – people who needed to remove them in order to get closer to the throne, the newly crowned king who feared they would remain figureheads, disgruntled nobles, people who didn’t want the ‘old royal blood’ diluted by ‘chav-bloods’ (thanks Dan – it’s just a touch of Harry Potter for the kids yet also relevant to TOWIE fans) and then there are hired killers who might have done it for the money, to get out of the…

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No Sense of Humour?

I think Dan Jones must have got out of bed on the wrong side the other day. In this article he accuses Ricardians, among other things, of having no sense of humour.

This very site, where humorous pieces appear on a regular basis, including some on himself (eg https://murreyandblue.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/bloody-kings-the-plantagenets-for-dummies/), rebuts his argument, and I am sure that plenty of supporting evidence can be supplied. If he had described Ricardians as a typically-English bunch of eccentrics he might have been a little closer to the truth; though of course even that  would not cover the many Ricardians who are not English, and in some cases do not even have English as their native tongue.

I rather think it is the ‘Ten Foot Deepers’ who lack humour, as they are evidently capable of reading More’s unlikely (and possibly deliberately satirical) account of Richard’s reign without collapsing into laughter. Indeed, anyone who takes that ‘source’ seriously has obviously had a complete sense of humour by-pass.

Their sincerely-held naivety is in fact rather touching. Perhaps they also believe that an elephant pushes the sun up a hill each morning.

 

 

 

Coming soon -Plantagenet Ninja Supermarket Sweep!

Giaconda's Blog

Donald CBE FSA FRHistS  -‘ that’s how many letters I have after my name and still no mention of a knighthood! Snarkey’ will be the talking head behind Channel 5’s new documentary/ game show/ reality tv series which will be launched later this year in response to the great feedback on Dan Jones’s ‘Britain’s Bloody Awful Crown of People who lived before the Tudors.’

The channel is looking to attract a new target audience of students and Big Brother types who want to test their limited knowledge of stuff that happened before the Tudors but in a funky format which allows for ad breaks every five minutes so they can tweet during the show segments.

‘It’s going to be a light-hearted mash-up of the old Supermarket Sweep format meets Ninja warriors with a history angle in the form of questions posed by Donald ‘I’ve been to Buck House and met…

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Bloody Kings: The Plantagenets for Dummies

Giaconda's Blog

Dim is making a documentary for tv. He has a vision – ‘It’s going to be a mash-up, GOTs meets Merlin with a bit of Simon Schama pacing thrown in to showcase my amazing range of jackets! I want to bring all that old history stuff up to date and make it sexy for the kids, in’nt.’

Cindy is Dim’s research assistant, she once played a cadaver on Casulty which is how she got into the business but studied History at Uni so she really knows her stuff. She did that bit about the Corn Laws and her special module was on the History of Spam through the Ages. She’s going to be checking out all the ‘accuracy’ bits that Dim doesn’t want to think about because they really screw up the sex and violence.

Dim: ‘Right, we’ve got three episodes and we need to cover loads of stuff and…

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Are you serious, Mr Jones….?

Hairy, phallic Richard

 

Oh, good grief, now we have a bearded Richard (totally evil, of course) courtesy of Dan Jones. Mr Jones is having a laugh, right? Must be.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-3388669/TV-historian-adding-Game-Thrones-sizzle-Wars-Roses.html

 

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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