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The Victorians [DVD]

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jeremy Paxman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Jun. 2009
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001V7P2TU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,681 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Jeremy Paxman examines the Victorian era and takes a look at paintings from that time. He explores what life would have been like during those days and how the paintings of that era did not truly depict the poverty and fears that many people faced.

From the Back Cover

Subtitles: English for the Hard of Hearing

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Jeremy Paxman has in my opinion succeeded in giving a good overall insight in the Victorian Age in this BBC-series. He describes how in the beginning of the 19th Century the industrial revolution created terrible living conditions in the new industrial towns that grew up all over the country. Later, and this is an interesting perspective, people really tried to do something about these problems. A lot of money was put into town planning and architecture. He also gives a convincing, logical explanation for the double standards regarding sex and morality of the Nineteenth Century. If I should mention anything I miss, then it is an explanation of how English discipline and class-thinking evolved. Here I am thinking of discipline in schools, the way the Victorians used to bring op their children, treatment of servants and staff etc. As a Dane, who has done his primary school education in English schools, this is something you experience and connect with the Victorian Age. Has it got something to do with the Empire, or could there be other explanations? The Victorians [DVD] [2009]
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Jun. 2015
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Paxman is not an expert on Victorian paintings, of course, but he knows enough about them and is passionate enough about them to want to communicate their importance. This book was published in 2009 and accompanies his TV series, but is by no means a slavish repeat of his script for that series. (Note, however, that in Paxman’s generous acknowledgements at the end of the book he implies that much of the writing was done by Neil Hegarty.)

The book is illustrated with full colour reproductions, some double-paged. But they have white borders that diminish the power of their colouration. The reproductive quality is satisfactory but could be better, especially when looked at in detail with a magnifying glass. For example, I looked in vain for the comet streaking “silently across the sky” in William Dyce’s ‘Pegwell Bay’.

In his eight page introduction Paxman writes, “It has been the odd destiny of the Victorians to have created modern Britain, only for modern Britain to sneer and spit at them.” Despite changes in attitudes in recent times to the merits of Victorian literature, architecture, and engineering, Victorian art, argues Paxman, is still viewed “like a dose of bitter medicine … the military ones appear to glorify battles we know nothing of, the moral tales seem to be trying to indoctrinate values we discarded long ago, and many of the remainder appear cloyingly sentimental. And … lots of them are simply not very good.” Paxman aims to show us the stories behind those depicted in the painted scenes when bourgeois Britain was at its height.
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This is a Dvd based upon a book by a grand amateur designed for intelligent amateurs. As such the viewer is spared much artistic talk of the most irritating kind. We see here the works of the Pre-raphaelites and the grand panoramas of Frith. Paxman deals well with many genre paintings. Richard Redgrave's "The Governess" is moving if not fashionable. Some of the genre paintings are trite although the level of skill is invariably impressive. The Victorian Age was a strange mixture of progress, sentamentality and energy. Paxman's work illustrates this.
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This is an excellent 2 disc series on the Victorians,
covering the Famous Painters of the day, including
an interpretation of their Paintings in the Victorian Age.
Victorian Living conditions are well exposed, both the poor
and the rich. Occupations, and of course Victorian hypocrisy
which was rife among the well to do.

Jeremy Paxman covers it all in an easy going manner which makes it
both informative and interesting for all.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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If, like me, you enjoy both looking at paintings (Victorian, in particular) and are interested in history, then this is ace. Paxman does it just right, so that you feel he takes you right to the heart of Victorian Britain. I plan to use this with my very unmotivated year 9 students. If nothing else, I will enjoy it while they groan away with the routine word, "Boring!" Hey, Jeremy, what about producing a Doctor Who style time-machine next: see if they'd be moved by that!
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I bought this DVD after reading the associated book. Jeremy Paxman's narrative brought the paintings alive showing how social history was recorded in paint if only you know how to 'read' the images. Some of these paintings would no longer be considered 'fashionable' but their beauty cannot be denied. The depictions of the poorer classes and the treatment of women were particularly powerful. An excellent DVD and a must for anyone interested in art, art history or even just history.
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The good part in this series is the introduction to painters and their body of work who are not known to me as Turner, Madox Brown etc. I will look them up; and Dore`s London will land on my wishing list for sure.
Now watching the third episode the constant use of heroic, lively or sad music in the background starts to annoy so much that I am not sure that I want to watch to the end. Mr. Paxman has a very nice voice and should have enough to say - even as an amateur - not to rely on music as a conductor for the viewer emotions. "should have enough to say" is by the way not the case. Mr. Paxman does not say much, he barely scratches the surface of "The Victorians" and aside from some nice anecdotes has less to say about their "age" than my old school books. And didn't we learn in school that adjectives should be sparsely used? His interviewing technique is a further point of critique. He is visiting some interesting people who could tell much more about their field of expertise than they are allowed to and sometimes even prevented by Mr. Paxman. Others reviewers talk of his wit, for me he talks and behaves smug. A chance and nice idea wasted - too bad.
Postscriptum: The fourth episode is by far the best. It raises my rating of yesterday by one star. The topics are more fully explored than in the first three episodes. The background music is less annoying. Mr. Paxman has indeed a nice voice to be heard here more often. Since all episodes had different producers only the one for this episode seems to know his/her job.
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