chapter  3
From lectures to landmarks: history and ideas
Pages 22

T he single most widespread change in the presentation of British television in recent years has been the desire of broadcasters not to be seen to be lecturing theiraudience, for fear of driving away even more than are already migrating to other entertainment sources. The liberal, inclusive nature of modern society discourages broadcasters from their traditional role of advising audiences what is good for them. A largely anti-intellectual consensus reads in ‘lecture’ its pejorative ‘reprimand or scolding’ definition. Yet one whole strand of television grew out of this modern take on the lantern-slide lecture and there are still survivors of that tradition, ones that clearly contradict the apparent all-encompassing demand for a dumbed-down television mostly presented by people who are no challenge to the average mind but proof that everybody deserves a chance. Despite everything, there is one area of lecturing that has survived the intellectual cull and even produced some unpredictable audience successes. The unlikely hero of this hour is the academic historian.