Halloween-ish viewing material - Yes, a little early.

It's cooling off in Chicago, and that means Halloween is on the way. Call me crazy, but when it gets to be Halloween, the perfect thing to get me in the mood is documentaries about life in historical England. Maybe it's because, for most people back then, the world was filled with superstition and crazy beliefs. Not like we're living in an age of enlightenment now or anything, but at least the Medievals had an excuse to life in ignorance, and hence, fear. For whatever reason docs about old England fascinate me, but especially so around Halloween.

You can find a lot of really good documentaries on the FaceTube... and I'm not talking about the (mostly) idiotic crap that History Channel runs. The last time I tried finding something to watch on History Channel, I swear I could feel myself getting dumber by the second. No, I mean good ones with actual historical facts and stuff.

Tony Robinson has had a long career in British TV, but lately he seems to focusing on making really interesting historical documentaries with a high educational value as well as entertainment. This is more or less a lost art in here America, but The Beeb is still producing excellent stuff.

It's not clear why, but The BBC doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that there are full-length versions of their shows available to watch on the FaceTube. And, I don't mean the kind of thing where the program is chopped up into ten minute segments to get around the (now outdated) time limit on FaceTube videos. No, the complete show is up there, all in one chunk. So, here are a bunch of his shows that are really good Halloween-season watching. Don't tell anyone, but you'll probably learn something too.

If any of these links go dead for some reason, just do a search on the title of the show. Someone else will have the episodes up there.

The Worst Jobs in History. The series is broken down by eras. First episode is Anglo-Saxon. The second one is Medieval, and so on. Tony consults historians and always has a go himself at actually doing every job. What a trooper. In this scene, he's learning how to wash clothes by stomping them in a bucket of human urine, and he's not using pretend urine. Want to feel lucky? learn about some of the worst jobs in history. Twelve episodes.

Gods and Monsters. Each episode explores a topic of ancient superstition. The undead, witches, etc etc. At left, we see Tony dressed as an Average Tudor Bloke, finding his chicken mysteriously dead. The only logical conclusion? Witches! Five episodes.

Walking Through History, Fact or Fiction. Tony examines stories from history, separating out fact from legend. There is an episode all about William Wallace, whom you may remember from the wildly apocryphal Braveheart  movie. Guess what? The blue face paint (woad), and the kilts? Wallace lived 1000 years after they stopped putting woad on their faces and he was 400 years too early to ever wear a kilt.

Please enjoy!


MrsBug said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THESE!! Sorry to be all shouty, but seriously, I think History Channel needs to start using quotes around their name to show it's all ironic. There is no actual history found there anymore.

Dr. Evil has it right: http://makeameme.org/media/created/history-channel.jpg

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

I know what you mean, Mrs. B. History, Discovery, and TLC used to have actual informative programming. Now, they're in the business of televising slapfights.

Oh, hey. Tony Robinson was the host of a long-running show called Time Team, full episodes of which are on the FaceTube also. I haven't been through those yet, so I can't definitely reccommendo just yet. However, Robbins seems to only put his stamp on really good shows. So, you can practically just search for his name on FaceTube and just put your feet up.

Robbins and faceTube are a perfect match for me, since I can get FaceTube on my TV through the Chromecast.


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