I have always found Dr. David Starkey an odious, pompous, self opinionated annoying little twerp but there something strangely compulsive about watching him at work, be it on his late night political talk show or presenting the latest instalment of his Monarchy series.
From how he desperately tries (and often fails) to cover up his Cumbrian accent, to his digs at the Labour Party, he is a constant source of amusement. And his assessment of history and politics are just so often plainly wrong as he places far too much emphasis on personality with very little analysis on processes, such as the influence of the economy and the environment on the English Civil War. Plus he praised Niall Ferguson, a hanging offence in my book.
On his talk show he is deliberately obnoxious towards lefty guests and cannot deal in the slightest with smart women, thus Polly Toynbee wiped the floor with him when he came up with the daft analysis of Blair being the natural successor ideologically to Thatcher. I forgot of course about how committed she was to the NHS model and State Education. Silly me.
My first sight of him in action was in the role of Prosecutor in the TV Trial of Richard III where he rude and abrasive manner managed to secure an acquittal, some feat given this Kings’s reputation.
The Monarchy series is lazy history at it’s worst. How you can make the Exclusion Crisis, the Popish Plot and the Glorious Revolution boring is beyond me, but he manages it because he quite clearly has little interest in this period of our heritage due to the fact he can’t witter on about the characters various peccadilloes, no surprise then that he is an expert on Court Etiquette and the wives of Henry VIII, an endless source of gossip which is what he does best. Altough he did point out that William of Orange was gay. Which no doubt went down a storm in various Orange Lodges and Shankill Road Drinking Clubs.
I would love to see History Death Match featuring Starkey V Simon Schama. No contest in my opinion.