Customer Review

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars English rather than Brtish but superb, 18 April 2010
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This review is from: Seven Ages of Britain [DVD] (DVD)
I already have David Dimbleby's "A Picture of Britain" (which I've watched several times) and "How we built Britain", so I was expecting a lot from this new series "Seven Ages of Britain". I was not disappointed.

True, it is about England rather than Britain but I won't complain about that when I see the polished and personable presenter visiting Italy, Germany, Turkey, India and America, sometimes looking for artefacts which are part of British history but which finished up in different countries.

True, Mr Dimbleby is not a professional historian, as one rather nit-picking reviewer told his readers in a London newspaper. But, as someone else has pointed out in these customer reviews, he ranks alongside Sir David Attenborough for his knowledge, skill and manner. We can be thankful beyond measure that the BBC didn't emulate National Geographic and use some unknown "celebrity" in a voice-over commentary dripping with hyperbole.

David Dimbleby has a relaxed natural sense of humour and a ready smile, particularly when something momentarily goes wrong. He has fun when he dances with the elderly but still lively Gilbert and George, and when his face is thrown into muddy water by... no, I shan't explain, but let you have the pleasure of seeing it when it happens.

The episodes might be somewhat arbitrary but I reckon they work very well:

1. "Age of Conquest" AD 43 - 1066
From the Roman Invasion to the Norman Conquest.

2 "Age of Worship" 1170 - 1400
The art of the Church, the Knights of the Garter, and other artworks made during the Age of Worship.

3 "Age of Power" 1509 - 1609
Secrets of some of the most powerful British monarchs, from Henry VIII to the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I.

4 "Age of Revolution" 1603 - 1708
How art in the 17th century reflected the extremist and revolutionary politics of the age.

5 "Age of Money" 1700 - 1805
Art in the age of commerce, the creation of a new `middle' class and the rise of consumerism

6 "Age of Empire" 1770 - 1911
Art and the British Empire, from the earliest colonies in North America to the acquisition of India.

7 "Age of Ambition" 1914 - Now
Art of the modern age, from the paintings of the first World War to the contemporary art of today.

Along the way, we see all sorts of things we've never seen before. Not in a TV programme, anyway. And we learn a few odd snippets of information, e.g., the value of a red haired boy's urine for one group in bygone society.

When it comes to personal tastes and preferences, I was delighted to see the inclusion of Paul Nash, an artist whose work I first discovered in the 1950s. I was less than delighted to see someone's huge heaps of concrete worms and another chap shooting lumps of wax at a wall. This is Art? Hmmm. On the other hand, although I don't really "like" the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, David Dimbleby's descriptions and explanations of the context are well worth seeing/hearing.

The remarkable Mr Dimbleby is now 71. It saddens me to think that he might not make any more series such as this, but who knows? He's a lovely chap.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Oct 2010 05:46:19 BDT
Lou Windsor says:
Yes Brian, it is a fantastic series. As an Australian, (three quarters English bloodline ), I found it remarkably informative, and beautifully presented. I'm Australian born, with a passion for history, particularly English. I loved the series, which we have just finished seeing on ABC television, and will be buying it from Amazon any moment. Like you, I admire David Dimbleby, and Richard Attenborough. Gee I'd miss them and their stuff. Amazing people. Regards, Lou Windsor.

Posted on 7 Dec 2010 07:46:37 GMT
In effect, a history of England, not Britain. Britain did not exist as a state until the act of union, about 1800 years into the time frame. Nothing about Wales, Scotland ??? Ho hum ....

Posted on 23 Sep 2012 18:16:16 BDT
oceana says:
Take a incredible journey of wonder with Mr Dimbleby.He will fill you with wonder as you travel through time.Incredibly Dimbleby has the eyes of a child .and will share that with you.Thank you for this .
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

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