Edinburgh Lectures about the History of Scotland

By Caroline Fraser

Edinburgh Lectures and The Open University are holding a lecture about the making of BBC programme, A History of Scotland, a two-part series which began its second installment on Sunday, November 8 on BBC 1.  The programme is presented by Scottish archaeologist, historian, author and broadcaster Neil Oliver, famous for hosting hit BBC show Coast.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, November 11 in The Hub, Royal Mile, Edinburgh and will begin at 6.30pm.  The lecture is going to be chaired by journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart with the rest of the panel consisting of Dr Catriona MacDonald, Senior Lecturer in History, Glasgow Caledonian University and members of BBC staff who help make the programme, including Neil McDonald, the series producer who is also Creative Director of Documentaries at BBC Scotland.  Other staff on the panel include Richard Downes, the BBC series producer for A History of Scotland and the series historian Dr Mark Jardine.

Courtesy of 1adventure

The Open University, who also co-produce the BBC programme, will have a panel ready to hold an interesting and lively debate Wednesday evening, which is also open to the public.

The topics to be addressed include how the production team decided just what aspects of Scotland’s history and culture should be included in the series as it is limited to 10 hours broadcasting time.  Therefore, the debate hopes to discuss the content of the programme and what has been left out.  Also, the debate will ask pertinent questions such as can television history programmes be made without compromise? And, how does national BBC 1 manage to secure a wide range of audiences from a programme solely about Scotland? These issues and questions, among others, will be raised at the lecture.

The first programme of the second installment entitled God’s Chosen People educated and entertained audiences as Oliver travelled through Scotland’s past recalling the story of the Covenanters whose religious beliefs were declared in the National Convenant of 1638.  It is Scottish history such as this that will be examined in the debate as the series producers will discuss why such topics are included in the programme.

Professor Ian Donnachie, Professor in History at The Open University is looking forward to the upcoming 60 minute programmes in the new series as he says, ‘As the series moves on in time it highlights major themes in the history of Scotland to our own times. ‘  Donnachie continues to say, ‘Many important and controversial issues that are addressed and debated in the programmes help to explain how Scotland came to be the country it is today.’

The debate hopes to reinforce this view as the panel discuss and put forward their views in support of the programme as it continues to educate, and entertain for the remainder of the series.