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January 2019



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life on mars

I Love Lucy

I was reading an article in today’s Telegraph about telly-dons and why it’s wrong to be snobbish about them. In the bitchy world of university historians, it seems, no sooner does a colleague dare to appear on television than he or she loses credibility as a serious historian. What? Once a chap like David Starkey has spent half a lifetime buried in Tudor documents, why shouldn’t he make some money by sharing his knowledge with the rest of us?

Not that he’s free from bitchiness himself. He apparently criticised Lucy Worsley for what he termed ‘historical Mills and Boon’ on television. I do have some sympathy with this view, having a great aversion to mob cap history, but in spite of that, I’ve found all her programmes lively and interesting. She may look about twelve with her little hair slides, but she is, after all, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces. Hardly a job you get by looking cute. Also (my turn to be shallow) I really like her clothes, especially the teal coat and purple gloves combo. She’s wearing the coat again for her latest series, Antiques Uncovered but is outshone by the dandyism of co-presenter Mark Hill. Ooh, those velvet collars take me back. In yesterday’s episode he even sported a curly brimmed bowler, very appropriate for the Victorian seaside artefacts they were looking at. It’s social history and if it’s also popular (damning word) history, it's none the worse for that.

I wish Mary Beard hadn’t bothered to respond to A A Gill’s insulting and pointless remarks about her appearance. ‘Leave it Mare! ‘e’s not worth it!’ She looks what she is, a fifty seven year old woman who doesn’t worry much about her image. Why should she? In the last episode of Meet the Romans she had me crying over little dead Roman babies. If that’s not bringing the past to life, what is? I hope to see lots more programmes like this one, fronted by older women with grey hair. The British are supposed to like eccentricity. Do we really want homogenised presenters, all toned and bronzed and with their teeth fixed until you can't tell one from another?


David Starkey is a bit of an old fool and unforgivingly rude ;)

I like Lucy although I think she's an acquired taste and I want to rip her slides out of her hair :)
I must be one of the few people who actually rather likes David Starkey.
Well, he does often say exactly what people are thinking and he can be entertaining in that arrogant way of his :)
I adore both Lucy and David Starkey! Actually, I am quite fond of anyone with a passion for history who is willing to share every tidbit and morsel with me. Hopefully Lucy's programs will air here in Ontario but if they don't I am not beyond a bit of illicit viewing via the internet.
I hope you get to see the programmes.
Lucy Worsley has a new series coming up, about seventeenth-century women. When does she sleep?
I like David Starkey too, much better than Simon Schama, for instance. And Lucy is fun, though the slides irritate me; they do go with her 'mischievous elf' persona though.
Mary Beard is great at getting history across and alive but I have to admit her hair drives me mad! I know several 50+ women with long flowing grey locks and it always makes me wonder what they do with it when they're cooking! And Mary B doesn't look safe on a bike with all that hair just asking to get tangled up in the spokes. She may insist that she doesn't care what she looks like but long flowing hair is a statement anyway! (But it's a darned sight more sightly than some of the paunchy chaps who pontificate on television...)

Hah, we seem to be quite the little Starkey fan club here :-)

I don't like long, ratty grey hair but that's the way MB wants to look and a makeover would be ridiculous. You are right (of course) about men on TV.


Well said. Love Lucy. Haven't really seen Mary Beard on TV but I thought she talked a lot of sense on Question Time. I have to say that I do like to read AA Gill although I don't always agree with him!
I didn't hear that Question Time but I believe you. What MB says is so interesting that it doesn't matter what she looks like. Not that I'd take her as a style model :-)


I love Lucy - she's excellent fun, and hardly off the TV these days. Only caught a glimpse of Mary Beard - fear my hair would look like hers if allowed to grow. But why are we so 'Lookist'? (Actually I like Lucy's clothes too, and don't even mind the hairclip!)