Michael Wood's Story of England, Kibworth plays host to Michael Wood and his Time Team wannabes for several episodes in order to trace the history of all of England through this one prototypical village. One suspects there is more to the choice than mere locale and it's near complete set of records going back to the early 1300's. The fact that a famous hoard of pre-Roman coins was found nearby and that it's near the Roman administrative centre of Leicestershire, must have factored heavily.
Has it been compelling? Have I learned anything new? Yes and Yes. while much that was said or shown through voice overed info clips was pretty basic to veteran history enthusiasts, a few bits were new and well presented. We learn of the origin of the name English from the Anglo Saxon's description of them by the Pope. The new chosen people as the Proff told us. Not Angles but Angels. The use of superimposed graphics very nearly like Time Team, is supplemented by a visit to several locations, one that recreates the life of a typical Anglo Saxon village. It's archaeology porn at it's finest, complete with experts telling us that otherwise unremarkable bits of pottery aren't in fact rocks or dirt, but proof of occupation by one invader or another.
My favourite bit so far has been the Roman burial mound, though not touched in the broadcast, we learn it was the tomb of one of the last pre Roman nobles of the area. What the mound underpins , is the notion that despite many changes and new neighbours, the original inhabitants never actually left. They adapted from one regime to the next. Anglo Saxons, Vikings and later on Normans ( who we'll see next time we're told) all contributed to the place names and the language spoken in the area without significantly displacing the previous influences.
I for one will be watching till the end. The prospect of missing out on some new nugget of information is too great. Yes I'm a history anorak and proud of it, and anything that gets an entire community so involved is not a bad thing. Catch up on the iPlayer here, and if you're like me, record it . Follow up review of next episode from Domesday to the Plague.