History on Television book

Routledge, 2013

Routledge, 2013

This book is a good read if you’re interested in the process involved in the representation of history on television. It is a culmination of an AHRC-funded research project, called ‘Televising History 1995-2010’, by Professor of Cultural Studies Ann Gray and Senior Lecturer Dr Erin Bell.

Erin said their book “considers the representation of the past on television through factual programming.  Beginning with the question ‘why does history on TV look the way it does?’, and drawing on interviews with media professionals, historians, archivists and archaeologists, as well as undertaking analysis of a range of factual programming, from Who do you think you are? to Timewatch.  

The authors explore key themes in the commissioning, production and form of history series over the last two decades. It aims to highlight how changes in the broadcasting landscape as well as cultural changes since the early 1990s in particular have affected the nature of history programmes, in terms of period, genre – including presenter – and dissemination, whilst also considering those histories rarely represented on screen – black and women’s histories, amongst others – and the relationship of television history to public history more broadly.”

Ann told me that they have donated two copies of the book to the University libraryHistory on Television is available to read online here at Amazon – on its webpage go to ‘Look Inside!’



3 thoughts on “History on Television book

  1. Congratulations on the publication of this. The culmination of many many months (years in fact) of enquiry, investigation and deliberation. I witnessed the transition from presenter led documentaries, to the dramatic reconstruction method during my time at the BBC. These changes led in turn to the rise in co-production funding, needed to enable the ever more elaborate methods employed. I look forward to reading.

    • Thanks Chris – it was very interesting for us to relate the changes in television programmes to the changes in the television industry and especially the rise and rise of the independents and how they influenced the developments of new ways of doing history on television. Let us know what you think! By the way the research took years rather than months!

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