Sunday, 17 April 2011

A History of Celtic

Neil Oliver inspects an ancient jawbone
BBC4 (the new BBC2) is currently showing a four part series "A History of Celtic Britain", presented by Neil Oliver, he of the delicious Scottish accent, and of the permanent crick in his neck as he strides along addressing comments to the camera just behind his left shoulder. I love the awe and excitement with which he fondles prehistoric artefacts; I love somewhat less the Just So Story feel to the "wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact" that follows discovery of some fragment of bone juxtaposed with some fragment of rust. (We play the game of coming up with different "plausible" explanations of why someone was buried with three spears, or curled up with a mirror, or whatever.)

We record this series so that we can watch it at the weekend. Our PVR truncates the title to "A History of Celtic". This might not seem so odd, except that "Celtic" by itself refers to a football team, and is pronounced with a soft C ("Seltick"), whereas in "Celtic Britain" it is pronounced with a hard C ("Keltick"). Hmm.

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