In Praise of Michael Wood

I’ve just finished watching Michael Wood’s latest series King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxons. As usual, his almost boyish enthusiasm and deep knowledge of his subject was infectious. Though I learned a little about Alfred at school, my knowledge of the so-called “dark ages” is limited. Under Wood’s enthusiastic guidance, they seemed anything but dark.

I first came across him in my first year at high school (1980), in a programme that was also about the Dark Ages. His exuberant style impressed me then and ever since, I’ve always tried to watch his programmes, regardless of subject. And he’s covered many and diverse topics: India, the Conquistadors, The Third Reich, Beowulf, Alexander the Great, Shakespeare. Most I knew little of or had little interest in, but Wood has that rare knack of livening up any subject and quietly drawing the viewer in and enthusing them. Even though he is now in his sixties, he has lost none of his enthusiasm and it remains as infectious as ever. Long may he continue.

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