Reel History: 1895 and all that

The world according to Reel History

Reel History

Hello and Welcome!

This week, Bunkazilla has premiered the pilot episode of the Reel History show, where Hugh K. David and I, Jenna Pateman, look into the Chernoybel (2019) mini-Series made by Sky and HBO and aired earlier in the year. And so for my first column, I decided to introduce us and our show, and give you a little sneak peek at our future episodes.

First off, “What is Reel History?”

Reel History is a podcast that will be discussing the relationship between media and History. We believe that this is an area of importance due to so much of our media being drawn from on the tales we tell of our past, using them as brand name that we recognise, to draw in audiences, such as biographical pieces being about a figure you would recognise, like Marie Antoinette (2006), or Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). We will be exploring a wide range of sources, and historical elements from a TV -series, based on a historical event, such as the Chernobyl (2019) series, a game series based on various historical periods, such as Assassin’s Creed (2007-Present), or a film made during a historical era, a primary source if you will, such as Triumph of the Will (1935) or Battleship Potemkin (1925). History is reflected in the most fantastical of places, such as HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011-2019), which was roughly based on the events of the War of the Roses (which lasted from 1455 until 1487, and had slightly fewer dragons and ice zombies). Even Science Fiction like the Star Wars franchise (1977-Present), used elements of samurai armour and depictions of fascism to create the image of evil and the unknown in the Stormtroopers and Darth Vader.

For the piece we chose for that week’s topic, we will discuss its relevance to the field of history, such as accuracy, it’s importance or anything else. Then by the end we shall judge whether or not that piece of media is ‘Reel History’ or ‘Real History’ and give it a percentage based on our feelings towards it. And to go along with each show, you will be getting a lovely column from me, somehow relating to the topic we discussed in the show. Look forward to next week where I maybe get to write about a certain Nazi Punching Superhero.

Take that, Nazi!

In Reel History, we will be discussing a lot about the accuracy of a piece, as it is the most common historical media is the retelling of important events and the famous past figure’s stories. As historians, we will be sharing, what was correct, the mistakes and the things that were completely glossed over, to hopefully give you an image of history as it most likely happened. In every episode, Hugh and I will be doing our very best to discuss as up to date and relevant information as we possibly can. However, it is important to note that history is an ever-changing art form, and what we took as historical fact, can easily be disrupted with one new piece of primary source material.

A great example of this can be seen with dinosaurs, and how sure Paleontologists that the prehistoric creatures had scales, rather than feathers, that we now believe them to have, and, for a more human example, it was believed that slaves built the pyramids when the evidence points more to them being constructed by the citizens of Ancient Egypt.

Bad, on soooo many levels!

Also the point of view of history is changing all the time, it used to be that historians only really had a ‘top-down’ approach to research, looking at the big events or leaders of a nation, whether that be the King or a government. This has meant that a lot of history has been looking at the lives of a lot of cis white ‘important’ heterosexual men. Thankfully, as historians, as a group, have continued to diversity, we are more and more looking at the lives of the ordinary person on the street, as well as the history of women, non-white people, LGBT people, disabled, as well as the history of counties, nations and their people, without it being just in relationship to ‘the west’ and colonialism. This means that our interpretation of the periods is always changing, and the stories we tell through media are starting to diversify, which is never a bad thing. (How those stories are told however can be concerning)

It is worth mentioning that for any Historical related media to be enjoyable, the accuracy is not always the most important aspect, even though it is the aspect that we will be discussing the most. Some pieces will have very questionable accuracy (I don’t think President Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter at any point in his career) but are still highly enjoyable. In our show, Hugh and I will be doing our best to be subjective, however, history and media by their very natures are going to be open to the viewer and historian’s biases.

Accurately historically inaccurate

So, who are your history-loving hosts?

My wonderful podcast partner is Hugh K. David. Born in South Africa in the early 1970’s and moving to Europe when he was still very young, settling the United Kingdom to study Law and History, and becoming a secondary level History and English School teacher. Hugh is also a host of two other Bunkazilla shows, Hustlers of Culture and Binges & Boxsets
For more information on Hugh, please see his twitter @4DAconsultancy

And to introduce myself: Jenna Pateman. I was born in the late 1980’s in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where I still reside. My home helped in giving me a love of history, as Cheltenham is a place that came into importance during Britain’s Georgian Period when spa water was discovered turning the town became a pleasure resort, and thus we are surrounded Regency architecture. Because of this I grew up surround by history and I was taught our town story, and about our famous figures such as Gustav Holst, composer, Edward Wilson, Antarctic Explorer, and Dr Edward Jenner, inventor of the vaccine. (Whose birth place is now an old people’s home as well as my local bus stop) My history classes in primary and secondary school opened my eyes to so many fascinating periods, making it very quickly become my favourite class. I read so many of the Horrible Histories books by Terry Deary and just wanted to learn as much as I could get my hands on. I was lucky enough to visit many places of historical interest and museums worldwide thanks to my parents, and some of my happiest childhood memories are of me and my Dad sneaking off to do something history-related, while my Mum and brother sunbathed or shopped.

Impressively accurate

Although I left education when I was in my very early twenties, I was still fascinated by history, visiting museums whenever I got the chance (boring the socks off my partner), reading books, doing many wiki-walks and watching many documentaries. I even got married in one of the old spa pump buildings. I decided to return to education after having my daughter, and although studying has been hard, I love it! And hopefully, my love of history comes across on the shows and in my columns. I also work for the Historical Association, Gloucestershire Branch, a charity organisation which has branches all over the country, and if you enjoy our show I would highly recommend joining up, as you will get access to many interesting talks in your area.

Thank you for reading this first column, and we hope you are looking forward to our next shows. Reel History came about due to a chance conversation Hugh and I had at the Institute of Historical Research’s History Day in 2017, when we were chatting about our love for both history and media, thus we decided that we wanted to share that passion with you, and hopefully, you will get to learn something new in every episode!

Next week, we will be talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Captain America, and then for October, we will be celebrating Black History Month UK by discussing three very different pieces

Hope you will join us!

How to start a fight with historians

Jenna Pateman

Reel History is a brand new show now broadcasting on Bunkazilla. Check the schedule for upcoming broadcast times.

You can follow Jenna on twitter @nadesicokitty and if you enjoyed her work you can support here at Just hit the button below. 

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