On the Spot: David Hendy

‘I change my mind – at least a little – after everything I read.’

History Today | Published in History Today
Elmina Castle, Ghana, photographed in 2012. Wiki Commons/sixthofdecember.

Why are you a media historian?

I studied medieval history, then worked in current affairs at the BBC. Media history brings my two careers together.

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you? 

We can’t say what’s changed unless we know what went before.

Which history book has had greatest influence on you?

As a medievalist, Rodney Hilton’s The English Peasantry; as a modernist, Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson.

What book in your field should everyone read?

Broadcast Over Britain by John Reith.

Which moment would you most like to go back to?

1922 and the first days of the BBC.

Which historian has had the greatest influence on you?

Paddy Scannell.

Which person in history would you most like to have met? 

Richard II, the subject of my first, uncompleted, doctoral thesis.

How many languages do you have? 

Just the one, alas.

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