UNEXPECTEDLY FUN, UNEXPECTEDLY COOL - MARCH 31 - 3.54PM - 2019
Histories of The Unexpected - The Sheldonian - 2.00pm
At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this…
In fact, for the first five minutes it struck me as a little hit-and-miss, that whole Vic and Bob, Baddiel and Skinner, Fry and Laurie schtick, but 10 minutes in I was hooked and by the time they hit their stride with their retelling of the Titantic tragedy, I was happy to buy the book (indeed, this segment, deftly demonstrated with just an Airfix model of an ocean liner and a pocket watch was both superb and surprisingly poignant).
So who were mine hosts? Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell, two historians at the University of Plymouth who have become media stars via their podcast ‘Histories of The Unexpected’, broadcast on Dan Snow’s History Hit channel.
Both are clearly passionate about their subject and both clearly frustrated, stand-ups who, once you get used to their shirts, work surprisingly well in tandem. In fact, their Sheldonian audience, which ranged in age from five to 80 were clearly fans already.
It is of course a neat premise - retelling history by weaving apparently unrelated events into a narrative that nearly always has a surprising twist (back in the late 70s, early 80s, science historian James Burke mined a similar vein with his TV series ‘Connections’). But their smart, effortless rapport with each other and the audience made for a hugely enjoyable history lesson.
FOR YOUNGSTERS (AND THE CHILD IN ALL OF US) - CHAPTER TWO - MARCH 14 - 4.30PM - 2020
FOR YOUNGSTERS (AND THE CHILD IN ALL OF US) - MARCH 13 - 12.26PM - 2020
ACCESSIBLY CHILLED, ACCESSIBLY PRACTICAL - MARCH 8 - 7.59PM - 2020
THE TWO ‘A’S OF A GREAT FESTIVAL - MARCH 7 - 2.19PM - 2020
CHAPTER ONE… MARCH 1 - 7.10PM - 2020
BRILLIANTLY BEWILDERING - APRIL 7 - 4.59PM - 2019
WELL, WE CERTAINLY WEREN’T SHORT-CHANGED - APRIL 6 - 9.05pm - 2019