I’ve been following the debate created by Education Secretary Michael Gove’s claims that left-wing historians have misrepresented World War One. He criticises the use of programmes such as Blackadder as a teaching tool, prompting Tony Robinson to respond that such statements are ‘unhelpful’ and ‘irresponsible’. I’m confident that young people are fully aware that Blackadder is a parody, just as I was when I watched it as a child.
Politicians, historians and television presenters have added their views to the debate, which has since widened to a general consideration of how film and drama productions can create or perpetuate historical myths, as discussed in BBCs This Week. Inaccuracies are deplorable and can become accepted as truth, but popularising history can also inform, and inspire the pursuit of ‘real’ history.