As part of my ongoing research for a satirical-period-procedural comic-book I’m writing, I decided to check out a BBC4 series called The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (2014), and quickly developed a giddy crush on the show’s sprightly presenter, Dr. Lucy Worsley. As a graduate of Oxford University, with a first-class honours degree in Ancient and Modern History, and a day-job as Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, she clearly knows her onions academically-speaking, but she wears her mortar-board lightly, and brings the past to life with a girlish (sometimes unseemly) glee, and an adorable enthusiasm for all things old-timey (even the gruesome bits), combined with a sincere appreciation and support for enlightened social progress. She’s also an incredibly expressive presenter… I particularly love the way she shakes her fist at the camera every time she mentions a violent conflict/uprising, or puts her hands on her hips when referencing a defiant subject/stand-off… and her (so-called) speech impediment just makes her all the more endearing, imho.*
She’s such a playful and entertaining personality, that she made learning more about the 18th century an absolute pleasure… and I immediately started searching out all of the other shows that she’s made, including the excellent A Very British Murder (2013), which is being repeated on BBC2, starting tonight. In this three-part series, Worsley explores the origins of the public’s unsatable appetite for salacious news stories about grisly crimes, as well as the ways in which fictional depictions of murderers/detectives have changed over time, alongside advances in real-life policing (the scene where she gets her inky finger-prints taken by an uncompromising old-school ex-copper is particularly painfully to watch, but a testament to her exemplary poise under duress!). Apparently she wrote a tie-in book to go along with the series, which I really must pick-up at some point… as well as a copy of her shiny new children’s novel, Eliza Rose, which tells the story of a young noble girl caught up in the skullduggerous court politics of the Tudor era. Eep!
* In some of her recent tweets she’s tried to sell the idea that she’s secretly evil, and cackles maniacally every time she “tricks” someone into thinking she’s lovely… but I’m just not buying it!