Monday, January 09, 2017

Reading and Viewing- Part 2

We probably get most enjoyment out of factual programming on television than from drama, although, if you've read the earlier post on here, we watch a considerable amount of television drama as there is such a wealth of choice at the moment, across all channels, including streaming services. We are National Trust members, and have been for quite a few years now. I think if you read my blog posts regularly you will already know that, because I mention the properties we mention on here. Sky Arts have been running Portrait Artist of The Year as well as Landscape Artist of The Year for a few years now. They started one for Photographers last year. I hope it continues. The painting competitions are done in association with the National Trust, because they use their properties as locations for the painters to get inspired to do their paintings. Also, the winner gets a prize of £10,000 and the winning painting is put in their permanent collection at one of the properties. This year it was Petworth House. We stayed in a cottage not far from Petworth during the Easter break in 2016, although our time was cut short because of really bad weather. As it was, we didn't get to actually visit Petworth because they closed it to the public more for safety reasons because of the high wind. Hopefully we can visit at a later date. A couple of episodes of the 2016 Landscape Artist shows were filmed at Stowe Landscape Gardens and the previous year Waddesdon Manor was used. Both these properties are close to us in Milton Keynes, perhaps no more than a 45 minute drive to Waddesdon and 30 minutes to Stowe. Visiting these places is far more rewarding if you know a bit more about their history and background. It's surprising how many of the places we visit are featured in television programmes we watch, such as Bargain Hunt and other antique shows such as Antiques Road Trip and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

The BBC does a lot of history documentaries. I am a subscriber to BBC History Magazine and some of the articles in that magazine are linked to television documentaries on all channels. Channel Four does a few history documentaries as well. One particularly good series was called 'Walking Through History' which was presented by Tony Robinson (actually knighted fairly recently, so I'd better refer to him as 'Sir Anthony,' although I doubt he'd want to be called 'Anthony.' Better know by the average television viewer for his portrayal of Baldrick in the comedy show 'Blackadder.') He spends his time in this series walking through some English landscape which has something historic to discover, as well as another series of documentaries on 'Britain's Ancient Tracks.' He visited somewhere we visited during 2016, Avebury. He is also know as a presenter of the archaeology programme 'Time Team' which is, alas, no more. It ran for 20 years and was an inspiration to not only myself but many others. I imagine it had run it's course and no doubt there were no more places for them to dig. I enjoy anything presented by Lucy Worsley. She recently did a BBC documentary series on the Six Wives of Henry VIII. Mary Beard did another series during 2016 about the history of Rome and called S.P.Q.R. I subsequently read the book which went with the series. Quite heavy going but nonetheless an interesting read. 
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