13 Dec 2007

Modern-day Vikings and the medieval David Beckham – Timewatch returns to BBC TWO

Richard Hammond presents "Bloody Omaha"

Richard Hammond presents "Bloody Omaha"

Timewatch, the longest running television history programme in the world, and co-produced by The Open University, returns to BBC TWO in January with six new films.

The series features a modern-day Viking Longship voyage from Denmark to Ireland, the harrowing true story of the Omaha Beach landings on D-Day and a profile of tournament Knight Sir William Marshal – the medieval David Beckham!

Other films in the series feature the lost Egyptian city of Amarna and the story of ‘The Wreckers’ - land-based pirates who would allegedly await ships in difficulty before beginning their violent rampages.

The Open University’s Stuart Mitchell, academic consultant for the series, said: "Timewatch effectively manages to combine sound scholarship with innovative presentation and mass appeal. It’s unusual to get a television series on history that is of such consistent quality. The series is also vital in fostering debate about different historical subjects and history in general.

"Timewatch provides some engrossing television, but also serves an important social function that goes beyond its content. Widespread knowledge of historical events and processes is crucial for a well-functioning civil society, since without it, the development of society is not contextualised and our tolerance of diversity and variance is diminished.

"The new series is no different to its predecessors - interweaving broad exciting narratives with often very personal stories.

The Greatest Knight

The Greatest Knight

"My personal highlights are the programmes on coastal wreckers of early 19th century popular myth and the biographical journey through the life of William Marshal - tournament champion and the greatest knight of the thirteenth century. He can accurately be referred to as the medieval David Beckham, not only because of his fame and stature but also because he was the subject of a big-money transfer deal!"

The Open University website Open2.net has a huge range of supporting material for Timewatch including blogs, podcasts, extended video interviews, images and programme summaries.

Editor’s Notes

Timewatch is an Open University/BBC Co-Production for BBC TWO.

It will be broadcast on Saturday 5 January 2008, then Sunday 6 January then subsequently every Saturday until Saturday 2 February. Check press for times. The sixth film in the series ‘Ten Pound Poms’ is solely a BBC production.

Executive Editor for the BBC is John Farren. Executive Producer for The Open University is Catherine McCarthy. The Open University Academic Adviser is Stuart Mitchell.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning. All broadcast information is correct at time of issue.


Related Courses and programmes from the Open University:-
- Y160 Making Sense of the Arts
- A103 Introduction to the Humanities
- A173 Start writing family history
- A180 Heritage, Whose Heritage?
- A251 World Archaeology
- A219 Exploring the Classical World
- AA309 Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire
- AT308 Cities and technology: from Babylon to Singapore
- A200 Exploring history: medieval to modern
- A218 Medicine and Society in Europe 1500 – 1930
- AT272 Ancient and Medieval Cities: A technological history
- AS208 The Rise of Scientific Europe 1500 – 1800
- A207 From Enlightenment to Romanticism c.1780 – 1830
- AA310 Film and Television history
- AA312 Total War and Social Change, Europe 1914 to 1955
- AXR312 Total War and Social Change, Europe 1914 to 1955 (Residential School)

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