Philippa Langley: Hero or Villain?
Sunday 10 February 2013
Now is the winter of our discontent/made glorious summer by the sound of Oxbridge types choking on their cornflakes.
You could hear the gasps of academic indignation from as far away as that windy Leicester car park beneath which Richard III's bones were finally dug up, five centuries after the last Plantagenet king got the chop at Bosworth Field.
Even as 3.7 million of us tuned in to last week's Channel 4 film about the search for his body, the great Mary Beard was tweeting, "Gt fun & a mystery solved... But does it have any HISTORICAL significance?" She was echoed by the eminent Neville Morley, professor of ancient history at the University of Bristol, who blogged: "Whoop-de-doo … Why is it that a skeleton is interesting only if it's that of a famous person?" Meanwhile, over at Sheffield Uni's History Matters blog, lecturer Catherine Fletcher observed: "Traditional 'kings and queens' history, so criticised over the decades by historians, still plays very well on TV."
But why so much heavyweight pooh-poohing of what, for most viewers, had been a discovery of genuine interest? Could it be – in part, at least – because it had been the work of, shock horror, an amateur? And worse, the kind of amateur who blubs to camera and prefaces her theories with: "I know how mad this sounds, but...."?
Step forward, an unlikely new TV hero, the redoubtable and avowedly emotional Philippa Langley, screenwriter and secretary of the Scottish branch of the Richard III Society (yes, it exists). The 50-year-old may lack the gravitas of more established rivals. But you know what? She was right. It may all have started with a not-very-rigorous-sounding "odd feeling", but she really did find Dicky 3, the last English monarch to die on the battlefield.
This just in: Paddy Power has our Philippa down as 6/1 favourite to become the next presenter of Time Team, overtaking Mary Beard, who slips back to 8/1.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 4 Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
- 5 Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
Russian 'aggression' sees Poland rearm its military as minister warns: 'We must be ready'
£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...
£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...