Yes, I know, I know, how could I.
Please, I can explain. First of all, I too dislike his hectoring manner. I too have switched him off mid-rant on Question Time. His nakedly controversialist comments on Newsnight following the London riots betrayed his ignorance; I don't know whether he's racist in his heart but his comments certainly came over that way. His provocations of Scots and Welsh, are just tedious. He roused the mild-mannered Michael Buerk to levels of headmasterly anger never heard before during Radio4's The Moral Maze, earning himself the label "rudest man in Britain".
His history programmes, though, now they're something else. I recently watched his three-parter The Churchills, recorded before the Olympics, and try as I might to find it pedestrian and uninspired, I couldn't, because it wasn't. It was great. Starkey set out to show how Churchill's 10-year project, writing a four-volume biography of his ancestor, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, helped turn the middle-aged politician into the war-ready leader Britain so desperately needed. Churchill's prescience in the 1930s, in arguing for the build-up of the armed forces while others sought peace at all costs, could be traced at least in part, Starkey contended, to his careful study of General Marlborough's long and highly tactical campaign against an earlier totalitarian threat, Louis XIV. He stretched the point a bit at times, but it didn't matter. It was good, informative TV.
There's loads of history on the box these days, but a lot isn't up to much, ruined by the assumption that we need gory overblown re-enactions, silly portentous music or endless recaps of basic information to hold our gnat-like attention. Not so Starkey's. True, he picks sexy subjects, but he illuminates them clearly without being patronising. Yes, I do mean that David Starkey.
History he does well. It's just a pity he doesn't stay away from the current affairs.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.