Thursday, February 8, 2007
UKTV, a ten-channel British television network co-sponsored by the BBC, offers a series of programs called "What the ... Did For Us," in which the "..." is a particular historical group--the Egyptians or the Tudors, say. The Victorians, of course, got the "..." treatment, as did the Industrial Revolution that reached its apogee during their era. Presenter Adam Hart-Davis (here, in decidedly un-Victorian glasses) has taken the brunt of critical carping about the "dumbing down" of the BBC, but as far as I'm concerned, more power to those who can provoke viewers into cracking open a book or going online to learn more. You wouldn't want Mr. Hart-Davis to be your only source of information about the Victorian period, but for those unlikely to become interested any other way (and let's face it...that's a huge percentage of the population), I say "hurrah" to the court jester.