For reasons to do with topography and dodgy aerials we can't get Freeview in our house so I have been late in catching up with several things medievally-related on BBC4 recently.
First off, there is an excellent programme, still airing weekly, by Richard Taylor who describes himself as somebody who 'writes books about churches and the messages hidden inside them'. It's called Churches: How to Read Them. We're on episode 5 now (cued up on iPlayer waiting to be watched) which is going to deal with the churches of the Enlightement period but it was the first two or three – those episodes which dealt with churches from the Dark Ages to the Reformation – which particularly interested me. If you're into medieval history or the history of art and architecture, it's a fascinating and massively informative series.
Then there's The Story of England – historian Michael Wood's programme about how a popular project to excavate various bits of the Leicester village of Kibworth (roughly in the heart of England) can teach us about the history of the whole of England. As the first one was from Romans to Normans, it was fascinating for me. I now need to catch up with Number 2 – Domesday to Magna Carta. And the whole programme makes me want to get involved in archaeology. It's great.
Also waiting to be watched is the second installment of In Search of Medieval Britain – last week about a fourteenth century woman called Christina (which was weird as I have a character in TB&TW called Christiana) who lived through the Black Death, this week about medieval Wales which will be great for me as that's where I grew up. Not medieval Wales, obviously (though that would explain a lot!) just Wales, specifically the West - Ceredigion.
So, lunchtimes are being taken over by iPlayer-watching instead of novel-reading, which is unhelpful as I've got one book group meeting this week (Andrea Levy's Never Far From Nowhere, since you ask) and another next week (Mrs Jordan's Profession by Claire Tomalin).
So, thank you BBC4 – I love you!!
And please can the powers that be put a decent Freeview aerial somewhere in the vicinity of Canterbury?