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History academic to feature in landmark BBC One series

Posted on 02/09/2011

A lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London is to appear on a landmark BBC One series that will feature the historic transformation of a 500-year-old manor house. 

Dr Anna Whitelock, lecturer in Early Modern History, will appear on screen as an expert in To The Manor Reborn, a four-part series looking at the process behind bringing Avebury Manor, in Wiltshire, back to life.

Students from the College’s MA Public History course have also been working behind the scenes with the show’s producers to bring their expertise to the project.

The series, presented by actress Penelope Keith and Paul Martin of antiques show Flog it!, will see the country house placed into a national historic perspective, reflecting on the story of Britain across five centuries from the age of Elizabeth I through to the eve of the Second World War. It will explore a wide range of craft and furniture-making skills and reveal the invention of "the home". The house will be restored as an immersive experience and will become one of a select few National Trust properties open for the public where they can touch, sit on and enjoy all aspects of the house.

Along with the house, a walled wilderness will be transformed into a Victorian kitchen garden, and together they will reflect four different periods of history – Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and 20th Century.

Dr Anna Whitelock said: “This is a very exciting project to be involved with. It brings together two of the country’s foremost institutions the BBC and the National Trust to try and inspire new interest in the nation’s heritage. Besides drawing on my historical expertise, the BBC have also been very interested in my role as director of the MA Public History and have been keen for students to get involved with the series. This is obviously a great opportunity for them but also an incredible endorsement of, and advertisement for, Public History at Royal Holloway.”

An MA Public History student, added: “Getting hands on experience on a high profile BBC One series has been a fantastic experience and more than I could have hoped for when I enrolled for the MA. Through Anna’s work on the programme she has introduced us to leading BBC producers and National Trust curators who have been really keen for us to be involved. I hope such contacts might open up career opportunities to me – it is certainly now on my CV!”

To The Manor Reborn is due to broadcast on BBC One this autumn.   


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