Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Anything with a vague historical bent

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Brother Ranulf
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Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:32 am

Having had some minor behind-the-scenes involvement with research for this new BBC2 series I was very much looking forward to seeing what kind of spin they have put on it.

The presenter, Simon Reeve, is certainly not my cup of tea with his odd diction and allegedly "cool" use of the English language. He admits to being a non-Christian (indeed a non- anything religious), making him a rather strange choice to relate such a religiously-inspired feature of history. Nevertheless I never judge a series by its presenter, but when he announced that "No doubt some of our intrepid ancestors would been just as excited by the thought of the adventure as well" I realised that the religious aspects had become secondary in the minds of the producers. You have to wonder if such ideas are more about trying to make the series more appealing to modern-day non-Christians.

A huge disappointment for me was the sudden quantum leap from Lindisfarne, Aidan and Cuthbert in the 7th century to the 13th century, without any mention of the enormous development and increase in pilgrimage in the 12th century. It was as if there was an urgent desire to get to Chaucer as quickly as possible - and sure enough the time-worn cliché of Canterbury Tales soon took centre stage on a traffic island. Much more fascinating elements of the history of pilgrimage were ruthlessly ignored in favour of transport cafes and hired cars.

I am not sure if all this can be seen as dumbed down history, or a botched attempt to appeal to a non-religious audience, or simply a programme that has no idea what it really wants to be about.

I will probably continue to watch, if only for the scenery and magnificent architecture - certainly not for the presenter or the script.


Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Miss Costello
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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Miss Costello » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:05 pm

As a non-churchgoer myself (but raised as a Catholic and 6 yrs in a convent school) I'm a huge fan of church architecture and tradition, but I really enjoyed the programme as a quick skim over the idea of pilgrimage. I can see why you'd be infuriated if you had input which they chose to ignore/rewrite as the same happened to me with a recent programme.

It has inspired me to read further if that's any consolation and if you can recommend any good books? (not that good book!) and to look into my own family history and their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

K



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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Tom H » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:31 pm

Yes, a very disappointing programme indeed, and it had so much potential. Some painful factual errors, blurring of centuries, lots of key points missed out, and the presenter's quips created a pretty misleading view of pilgrims and pilgrimage, particularly when he suggested pilgrims may have looked forward to escaping their local area to go on pilgrimage so they could get up to naughtiness with Winchester geese whilst away from home.

I too was involved in a fair bit of behind the scenes advice and was due to be filmed, but eventually decided to pull out as I was far from happy with the producer's ideas, it seemed they knew what they wanted to say and they weren't too keen to have facts get in the way. I'm glad I wasn't in the programme now, but did discuss with them that we spend a fair bit of time unpicking the misconceptions that are created by such programmes. Ah well.



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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:37 pm

Miss Costello,

I found one of the best studies of medieval pilgrimage (right through from the very earliest to the end of the medieval period) to be Jonathan Sumption's "The Age of Pilgrimage" (HiddenSpring 2003, ISBN 1-58768-025-4). Practically everything he writes is keyed to a primary source via notes at the end of the book, which is just about as good as you can get. It is well written, very well researched and a very reliable account as well as being an easy read.

There are a few surviving accounts written by the pilgrims themselves:

- Theoderich, Guide to the Holy Land (1172) published in English by Italica Press as a paperback, ISBN: 978-0934977036
- Wright, T. (1848) Early Travels in Palestine. URL: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40131/40 ... 0131-h.htm (see the section on the English pilgrim Sæwulf)

The 12th century Codex Calixtinus is the main document for pilgrimages to Compostela; in its book V is set out a "guide book for the traveller" which most pilgrims to Santiago would have been aware of. You can find a full translation of book V at https://sites.google.com/site/caminodesantiagoproject/
The Codex Calixtinus manuscript gained notoriety a few years ago when it was stolen by a Spanish workman, then thankfully recovered intact.


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Miss Costello
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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Miss Costello » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:51 pm

Thank you Brother Ranulf!

Very helpful,

Kate



Marcus Woodhouse
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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:39 pm

Age of Pilgrimage is a wee cracker of a book. I haven't bothered with the series. It looked naff and I'm having fun re -watching Deadwood.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:56 pm

Watched it on catch up. What a load of dumbed down tosh! Not at all impressed and felt at times that it was in fact taking the pish out of pilgrimage.


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Re: Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve

Postby bugbear » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:51 pm

I was confused as to who the program was for; Simon Reeve wasn't a historian giving us an analysis of pilgrimage (in the manner of Mary Beard), nor was he a religious believer viewing historic pilgrimage from the viewpoint of a modern pilgrim.

So what we got was a modern hiker reading notes from a "beginner's guide to pilgrimage"

Poor.

BugBear




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