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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 August 2011
The title of this series 'Celtic Britain, should really be called 'Ancient Britain Part 2, as it is a direct follow on from Neil Oliver's previous series. Picking up from the end of the Bronze Age we learn about Iron Age Britons and the impact of the Roman invasions on british society. If you liked the first series then you should like this, with Mr Oliver continuing to exude almost over the top enthusiasm for his subject matter. Other reviewers have said that the 'ancient/celtic britain programmes are a lazy form of learning and this is very true but these documentaries are introductions. If you want to delve deeper then you can always read a book on the subject.
Perhaps Neil Oliver will make one more series. "A History of Dark Age Britain" starting with Post-Roman Britain and ending with the Norman Invasion. That would be a great way to round off the series.
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on 27 April 2011
A great followup series to the excellent 'History of Ancient Britain'Historian Neil Oliver
continues the Celtic History of Britain from 1000 B.C. before the Roman Invasion of 43 A.D. and up to the departure of the Roman Army in 400 A.D.
It looks at the many technological developments made by the Celtic tribes of Britain
,also how life was in their communities and how the subsequent Roman Invasion affected the inhabitants of Britain and the new Celtic/Roman culture that emerged from this.
I really enjoyed watching this series on the BBC and would recommend it to all lovers of History and their is some stunning cinmeatography added to the mix of history and this complements the overall feel to the programme.
Neil Oliver is enthusiastic and engaging as a presenter and this endears you to the content of the programmes.
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Ignore the one star temper tantrum review above.

This is a excellent series and is a nice sequel to the "History of Ancient Britain" and gives a excellent overview of a great chunk of this Sceptered Isle's history.

Yes Celtic is perhaps a lazy term but for non-experts like me it fits the bill for your expectations of what this programme will be about(I have a Archeologist friend who also goes foaming at the mouth like the above reviewer about context the term "Celt" can be used)

Niel is a good presenter, obviously know what he is talking about and is enthusiastic, which shows on screen. You will love this if you liked the earlier series (and "A History of Scotland" too for that matter)
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on 5 July 2013
An intriguing and highly informative look at Iron Age Britain from 2000 BCE to 400 CE. A real treat for enthusiasts of archaeology and ancient artefacts, many of which Oliver examines in detail with the aid of a host of experts. He also examines several ancient villages , caves and mines.
The Age of Iron mainly involves prehistoric excavations, while the follow up The Age of Warriors examines the political, social and economic system too and the soical changes that led to greater instrumentalities following the more utopian and communitarian Bronze Age. It gives us a look at the Celtic kings and Druids, the latter who actually had more power and influence than the kings and chieftains. The second two parts The Age of Invasion and the Age of Occupation examine how the Roman rule of Britain effected the native populations, both subjected to cruel Roman repression but having also a profound cultural influence.
Fascinating look at the interactions of the Celtic tribes of South-eastern England at the time, the Iceni, Catovelauni, Trinovantes and Belgae. As well as tracing the Boudicca revolt and the atrocities Boudicca's Iceni carried out against fellow Britons after they sacked the Roman held cities of Camuldonunum and Londinium.
An excellent perceptive look into Ancient British history, and the roots of that island's people and culture.
Great footage of the British countryside.
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on 21 May 2012
neil oliver has done it again and provides a surreal account of our ancient ancestors with a graphic oration as well as artifacts and vivid proof of our past,he might not persuade all of you but all i have to say is well done neil and the bbc for this excellent account nothing else comes close
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on 16 May 2016
Very Good History Documentary by the BBC

This short four part (4 hours) history series follows on from Neil's previous show about Britain's prehistoric past: A history of Ancient Britain which starts off from ice age through to bronze age Britain. This series starts off in Iron age Britain and goes through our age of Celtic warriors, the age of Roman invasion and finally age of Roman Occupied Britain which completes Britain's prehistoric past
Neil Oliver presents the show very well and is informative, enthusiastic which kept me captivated through start to finish. Unlike many other history programs which are full of reenactments and cgi recreations, Neil Oliver takes the viewer through by talking to the experts, visiting the ancient sites and showing and explaining artifacts.
Many scenes also just feature random camera pans of British Towns and cities as well as Neil walking whilst narrating, this may sound overbearingly dull, however Neil Oliver's Narration remains completely captivating and leaves the viewer wanting to find out more about our Nations rich past.
The Background Music works very throughout the show too and Ty Unwin's music creates really intrigue and a sense of mystery. In short this is really interesting show and I discovered a great deal about my country's past.
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on 24 May 2014
I am not English but a real fan of the BBC documentary style. This set of DVDs is not in that style. The is too much repetition in the manner of US style docos. But my main gripe is way too much of Neil Oliver. I'm probably exagerating but it seems that 50% of the screening time we have him as the dominant part of the image or he is standing on some rocky headland/outcrop/striding through a field while the camera swoops around him. Might do wonders for his ego but just irritates me.
If you can over look those points it is a good buy so 3/5 stars.
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on 31 May 2011
I watched this programs on BBC iPLayer.

It is quite clear to me from the program that there was no organised Celtic society, but "Celts" are regarded as different and scattered groups of people in pre-Roman Britain.

Whether you use the term "Celt", "Briton", "pre-Roman", "woolly-bully" is not important once you understand what was like in pre-Roman Britain.

And Neil Oliver presents this with such an enthusiasm and a well collected researched facts and opinions of different specialists.

A 1 star review can only mean one thing: "I wish I could be part of this program, but I wasn't invited". So I'm jealous now and I'm gonna give it 1 star.
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Neil Oliver's second DVD in the `History of Ancient Britain' series - usefully sold separately for those with little interest in earlier times - continues his chronological narrative into the age of Celtic and Roman Britain. Its style, however, is a carbon copy of the first volume.

The four hour-long episodes here are: 1. Age of Iron, in which we learn of more agricultural revolutions and of the problematic `gap' between the Bronze and Iron Ages; 2. Age of Warriors, in which the status of fighters and defenders increases as the land fills up; 3. Age of Invasion, the arrival of the Romans; and 4. Age of Romans, in which he reviews many aspects of Roman life in Britain.

The DVD ends at this point. One would have hoped that Oliver might have continued with another series into the Dark Ages, but instead his latest interest (at the time of writing) is the Vikings.

As well as archaeology, Oliver brings into discussion issues such as kingship, the `religion' of the druids, language, and culture, concluding that there is no evidence of a Celtic ethnic or racial identity; rather, theirs was `just' a common heritage.

Again, along his travels, Oliver gets to handle and drool over some seminal archaeological exhibits. He also engages with some of the greatest experts on the period, such as Barry Cunliffe, Niall Sharples, Miranda Green, and Phil Crummy.

There are also, of course, a lot of ponderables and unanswerable questions to be chewed over and digested along the way, as well as plenty of `perhapses' and `it's as thoughs'. But often Oliver's thrust of argument is too assured, and he can be careless with details, such that the Antonine Wall was the furthest north that the Romans reached (there are forts in Perthshire), or that the wearer of a Chi-Ro ring must have been a Christian (the wearer may have just liked the pattern). There are some strange statements: for instance that the Britons could never have conceived of gladiatorial combat.

But these criticisms are minor compared to the amazing story that Oliver tells about the inhabitants who lived and died in Britain over a period of just over a thousand years.
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on 2 May 2013
The term 'Celtic' is always problematical, which does affect the rating for this series as it examines Iron Age Britain, which is a very different thing from the title's claims.

Oliver is an engaging presenter, even though his habit of talking over his shoulder often provokes betting as to when he'll finally trip or go over a cliff. Until he does, we'll be treated to access to some very interesting sites. We're not envious, oh no. Well, a bit.

This dvd covers what is really mostly Iron Age Britain, offering an examination of the cultures present in Britain at the time. Having watched both the original Ancient Britain show on the BBC as well as this one, there has always been a good deal of information presented. These shows are not designed for archaeologists, they're designed to appeal to people for whom history is either Days of Yore or Olde Tymes wherein people wore and ate mud and communicated in grunts. If these shows can give people even an inkling of the skills developed by Iron Age peoples and the heights to which they took their art, then it's done its job.

Academics wrestle endlessly over terms that are used for cultures, 'Celtic' probably has occupied more than its share of the papers presented, opinions shouted and people unconvinced by any of the many sides of the arguments. What is true is that 'Celtic' is a term of romance as much as anything else, but it's one that draws people in, and the ones who want to learn more can be converted to the side of Right Terminology. The rest might not care, or might just have learned a bit from the shows. That's never a bad thing.
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