Richard III, the ‚Bösewicht‘

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Greyfriars Dig, News, Richard III in the Media

The interest in the findings in Leicester is not limited to the English-speaking world.  One of the two main German TV station, the ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen), also reported on it as part of their news and interviewed John Ashdown-Hill for the short feature (approx. 2 minutes).  The dig in Leicester was based on John’s research, outlined in his book The Last Days of Richard III.

So far I had known John only through his books and from photographs, so this was the first time I met him ‘live’.  This was the highlight of the programme, as I was rather disappointed with the reporting around it.

The moderator introduces Richard III as the “probably most hated king in British history”, who also features as the “main character of a Shakespeare drama”.  This gives you a good idea on the line they are going to follow:  history as told by that great “historian”, William Shakespeare.

We learn that Richard had numerous people killed, two brothers and nephews, but also “at least one wife”.  Now, please, even Shakespeare doesn’t give him more than one wife!  It was only his great-nephew Henry VIII, who had the bad track record with multiple wives.

As there is no mention that any view of Richard but Shakespeare’s even exists, it comes as a bit of a surprise when the reporter finishes with “Richard, the villain.  Maybe this part of history now needs to be rewritten.”  Unfortunately finding Richard’s bones will not be not sufficient to change the popular opinion of this king.

And while I am on my rant, there is also a minor point.  In the beginning we see the sundial at the Bosworth Battlefield Centre and the voice over informs us that this is the spot where Richard was killed.  Well, not exactly, the actual battlefield was a bit away.

In my family, ZDF had been the broadcaster of choice, for its accuracy in its news coverage as well as for entertainment.  A pity, but even John Ashdown-Hill cannot make me overlook the shortcomings in this short programme.  I would have expected better!

Watch the programme at http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek#/beitrag/video/1768286/Grab-von-K%C3%B6nig-Richard-III-entdeckt

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