Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Monarchy With David Starkey|
Actors: David Starkey, Tony Cottrell, Gerard Hayling
Directors: David Hutt, Mary Cranitch
Genres: Television, Documentary
Eminent scholar and energetic storyteller Dr. David Starkey (The Six Wives of Henry VIII) serves as your guide through nearly 10 centuries of royal rule in England. From the fall of the Roman Empire to the Restoration, Sta... more »
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Beware - This is abridged!
Quai Chang Cain | 08/22/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is an abridgement of Monarchy Series One and Monarchy Series Two, released in the UK. These were originally 11 episodes, but have been condensed into 6 episodes for the US release. Do yourself a favor and purchase the UK release of Series One and Two and see the story as it was meant to be told. You may need to buy an all-region DVD player to view DVDs from the UK, but given that US releases are often bastardized, this is not a bad investment.
Don't be fooled by the release of 'Set 2' in the US. That starts with Charles II and is equivalent to 'Series Three' of the UK release."
Great but incomplete
Joshua L Wright | Royal Oak, MI United States | 10/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this entire series on PBS, and it has to be one of the best historical series I have ever seen. Starkey is great. He covers the material very well and does a great job bringing out the importance of the events and ideas of the English monarchy throughout its 1,000 year history. The series ends with the Restoration of the Stuarts to the throne of England and Scotland, a convient place to end an episode, certainly, but it left me wanting more. The monarchy of Charles II is still a far cry from the British Monarchy of today or the American presidency (Starkey makes it clear that monarchies can have elected heads with titles other than king or queen).
Where is the coverage of the crises surrounding James II, The Glorious Revolution, or the ways in which the monarchy changed in the 18th and 19th century under the Hanovers? The Abdication of Edward VII and the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer? What might the reign of Charles III or William V be like? I hope Starkey makes a second series of Monarchy, it is needed."
David Steele | Milwaukee, USA | 02/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Starkey takes us on an epic adventure of intrigue, murder, revenge, and triumph. He makes the story of Britain's monarchy come alive through his energetic delivery, use of fine costumes and actors playing the historical characters, and the use of actual historical artifacts and historic settings. Not only is the series dramatic, but it's also highly informative, exploring in depth the development of Britain's monarchy as a political institution.
When Dr. Starkey describes with such great intensity things like the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, in the actual room where the execution took place 450 years ago, it's hard not to get caught up in the great intrigue and drama of Britain's monarchy."
An elegant CliffsNotes version of Britain's kings and queens
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 08/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Think of a full-color CliffsNotes combined with one of those Monty Python spoofs of a BBC interviewer and you have a slightly unfair idea of Monarchy. In six episodes of less than an hour each Dr. David Starkey whips us along in a survey of England's...well, Britain's...no, make that the United Kingdom's...queens and kings. Sir David, as he is known in punctilious society, has given us an elegantly written and presented quick tour, sumptuously mounted. There are beautiful location shots of castles and palaces along with actors richly dressed to the purpose looking at us while Starkey tells us what they were plotting. The one great value of the series, to my mind, is the theme he gives his survey, and that is the continuing struggle between the sovereigns, on the one hand, to be supreme, and the barons, followed by the merchant class, on the other, to maintain a tight hold on the power of the purse. That struggle in one form or another gave us the Magna Carta, the grudging acceptance of shared rule along with kingly restraint, the concept of the rule of law, and the rise of the common man, even if, as in the House of Commons, the common man and woman wasn't represented all that well by the landed and mercantile classes who filled the Commons' seats. No matter how you look at it, England is a remarkable story for which the civilized world, which often includes the United States, should be grateful.
But don't expect more from Monarchy than a barely scratched surface. In my view, Starkey did a reasonably fine though fast job of the tumultuous period leading up to Edward the Confessor and the Norman Conquest, the characters and issues of two of the Tudors, Henry VII and Henry VIII, and the issues that led to Cromwell. Everything else for me was a blur. British history is so rich and, because so much of the history of the United States directly draws from it, so accessible to most of us, that I have mixed feelings about Monarchy. For grandparents, it would make a great present for a precocious middle school grandchild. For those reasonably familiar with British history, it simply condenses too much. Starkey uses his theme to effectively frame what he gives us, but what he gives is so little and so without nuance that, for me, it quickly became something to watch while glancing through the newspapers. Starkey doesn't help things by his manner of presentation. He is deadly serious and absolutely without doubt, humor or skepticism. I'd love to see Eric Idle or Terry Jones interview him. With Starkey's reputation for rudeness, it would be quite a show.
This Monarchy comes in two DVD discs. Starkey starts with the waves of Viking and Anglo-Saxon invasions and leaves us when Charles II restores the monarchy after the death of Cromwell. Future programs that take us to modern times are being shown in Britain and will eventually be available on DVDs over here. If anyone can sort out the differences between the British Region 2 DVDs and this American version, have a go. I can't believe that the American version is as severely edited, or even edited at all, compared to the Region two set. Yet trying to compare what is on the Region one and two discs with episode titles and elapsed times is just about impossible.
The DVD picture and audio are immaculate. If you're interested in British history, especially a history that goes well beyond mere kings and queens, try Simon Schama's A History of Britain - The Complete Collection. It is a fascinating documentary beautifully presented. Be prepared...it runs 15 hours. Now that's a documentary."