6 user

A History of Scotland 

1:40 | Trailer
A documentary charting the birth and growth of the Scottish nation.




2   1  
2009   2008  
2 wins. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Vikings (TV Mini-Series 2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Vikings is a documentary series written and presented by Neil Oliver charting the rise of the Vikings from prehistoric times to the empire of Canute.

Stars: Neil Oliver
The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice (TV Mini-Series 2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This three-part documentary discovers the origins and beliefs of the Celts in artifacts and human remains across Europe. What emerges is not a portrait of wild people on the western fringes... See full summary »

Stars: Alice Roberts, Neil Oliver, Mike Loades
A History of Ancient Britain (TV Series 2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Neil Oliver tells the epic story of how Britain and its people came to be over thousands of years of ancient history - the beginnings of our world forged in ice, stone, and bronze.

Stars: Neil Oliver, Alison Sheridan, Paul Bahn
History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Scotland's ancient clans are renowned as some of the most legendary warriors in history - fierce tribes forged by the country's wild mountains and glens. This is their thrilling story of ... See full summary »

Stars: Neil Oliver, Darren Mitchell, Hannah Young
The Normans (TV Mini-Series 2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

British history professor Robert Bartlett explains, mainly on historical sites and illustrated with authentic artifacts, the eventful history of the Normans, some of the Norse men (Vikings)... See full summary »

Stars: Robert Bartlett
Yes, Prime Minister (1986–1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

James Hacker was propelled along the corridors of power to the very pinnacle of politics - Number 10.

Stars: Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds
Sacred Wonders of Britain (TV Mini-Series 2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

At the edge of Europe the British Isles is home to one of the world's richest collections of sacred sites. With stunning photography Sacred Wonders of Britain tells the stories of the ... See full summary »

Stars: Neil Oliver, Ronald Hutton, Nick Card
Civilisation (TV Series 1969)
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Sir Kenneth Clarke guides us through the ages exploring the glorious rise of civilisation in western man. Beginning with the bleakness of the dark ages to the present day, we consider ... See full summary »

Stars: Kenneth Clark, Nicholas Blake, William Devlin
Medieval Lives (TV Series 2004)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Terry Jones hosts this series that looks at the real facts about the Middle Ages and its roots.

Stars: Terry Jones, Peter Barber, Faye Getz
Yes Minister (1980–1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The Right Honorable James Hacker has landed the plum job of Cabinet Minister to the Department of Administration. At last he is in a position of power and can carry out some long-needed reforms, or so he thinks.

Stars: Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A London cab driver gets mixed up with a criminal gang and sets out to expose the group and its leader for what they are.

Director: John Paddy Carstairs
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Barry K. Barnes, Sheila Sim
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Neil Oliver, Chris Packham, Andy Torbet and Dr Shini Somara follow the work of archaeologists from around the world who are working on one of Europe's largest digs that is reshaping the map of Stone Age Britain.

Stars: Neil Oliver, Chris Packham, Shini Somara


Series cast summary:
Neil Oliver ...  Himself - Presenter 10 episodes, 2008-2009


A documentary charting the birth and growth of the Scottish nation.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 November 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A História da Escócia See more »

Filming Locations:

Scotland, UK

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Potential to be sure - but it's a work in progress
10 February 2009 | by surferdudea1904See all my reviews

Round about 9 years ago we were given the fantastic series "A History of Britain" presented by Simon Schama. With a brilliant blend of stunning scenery, inspired soundtracks and a very charismatic presenter - we were taken on an engaging and fascinating (albeit Anglo-centric) history of Britain. Schama's own style for history gave a sense of connection to those characters he was describing. His style of storytelling also allowed us to revisit known events - but to see them from new perspectives. At the time BBC Scotland wanting to get in on the act quickly commissioned its own version "In Search of Scotland" which instead came across as a lame Secondary School History programme. It was quickly forgotten about - and with good reason.

Fast forward to 2009 and BBC Scotland have decided to have another crack at the whip. How successful have they been? Lets get the plus points up first. Well there has been a serious attempt at telling parts of Scottish history that don't involve the usual cliché areas. These include the fascinating look at Alexander II and the reigns of the early Stuarts. The second plus point that springs to mind is the soundtrack that accompanies the series. Few will have noticed it - but it was atmospheric and cleverly used in places.

To the minus points now - and unfortunately there are plenty. Firstly to the presenter: Neil Oliver. Without a doubt he was chosen because of his fan base in the TV series Coast. However he lacks the story telling ability required for a history series. Instead of whipping up the audience, it feels like we are being read to from a National Trust guidebook.

Lets us turn to the history covered. While I was impressed by the attempt to cover a wider breadth of history - the series failed to keep up this standard. Quickly it lurched in to devoting almost two episodes to Wallace and Bruce. Then a few episodes later we were back into Mary Queen of Scots and James VI. Now there was a clear attempt to give a new angle on the story - but its hard to get interested in these topics that have been done to death on TV and probably in schools. It felt that they lacked any kind of passionate storytelling. Schama's series worked so well because he made it a very personalised version of history - what he saw as important. A History of Scotland clearly has had a number of committees discussing what should be in the series (and having read the newspaper reports on the series, it seems to be the case that it is the same people who are responsible for pumping out the usual dull Scottish history series like "In Search of Scotland". The cost is that the show feels like a Scottish history tour guide rather than an engaging personal journey by one man.

And the cardinal sin has been committed! You never ever let other professors and specialists on to the show to talk about dusty old documents. This happened far to often in the series. If you have to refer to the documents then the presenter should do that and only in small doses. No long dialogues or as Oliver did at one point - whip out a 2008 edition of "Dialogue on the Laws of Kingship" - looked like he hadn't learned his lines and so resorted to reading from the book. A school pupil could get aways with that - not a BBC History presenter.

A History of Scotland has many more episodes to go. But it needs to be more radical and get away from its over-reliance on professor type history. Oliver could work as a presenter - but he needs to inject his own personality into the show - not read something that has been prepared for him. History documentaries like this are about one person taking a journey, its this journey that the audience will latch on to, and return to watch time and time again.

6 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed