Random Scenes: A History of Britain

And here’s yet another example of an excellent documentary series. These days, there are rules about giving credit to the crew who produce a film and many of the source materials used in its production. A History of Britain (2000) was presented by Simon Schama and one can scroll through the credits and appreciate the research that was done. Although all legal obligations of giving credit have been satisfied that does not mean that this has been done to the satisfaction of the viewers. In episode 12, ‘Forces of Nature’, Schama is discussing a period of time where “sensible” people gave high regard to the workings of nature—an almost religious reverence filling the void of the spiritual feelings lost in the secularization of Western culture. Of course the high guru of this movement was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who advocated allowing children to express their “animal spirits” in the cause of an uncorrupted personal development. Among the images used to illustrate this point in A History of Britain was some archival footage of two little girls running around. From clues in the film, this was probably footage of an aristocratic family, perhaps a famous one. I have always wondered who these girls may have been and what became of them.