Neil Oliver BA Archaeology Dr Ross McKenzie Crawford PhD in History
TuS Culture Correspondent, Assistant Professor Rosetta ‘Greek’ Thompson, has urged BBC Scotland to drop the ‘past-it’, unqualified and ‘displeasing’, Neil Oliver, from his many presenting and walking-around trying to look hard, roles in its history shows.
Thompson in 1938
Oliver, whose powerful nose reputedly detected a cancerous presence in the Scottish independence movement has been a controversial figure since his spat with legendary history professor Tom Devine in 2009.
At the time, Devine questioned Oliver’s competence to present a new national history series, given his lack of a history PhD or, indeed, any history qualification. Calling for a real heavyweight academic historian to present the series, Devine allegedly described Oliver as ‘a pygmy on giants’ territory’, as being ‘hapless’ and as having ‘a sad lack of authority.’
Oliver struck back at Devine’s lack of dress sense and compared him to an old man in the Muppets series. Oliver was awarded the Grey & Browne prize for dress-style in 2009.
Thompson has recounted the moment when she first realised Oliver had to go. It was her husband, Glasgow ‘art collector’, Arthur’s outburst, on waking suddenly, seeing Oliver on screen and shouting ‘My god, Pocahantas has let herself go!’
Thompson (98) has suggested that the ‘eminently qualified’ Dr Ross McKenzie Crawford (above), who stars in Oliver’s recent series on the Clans, might replace Oliver. She insists that ‘the camera loves him’ but denies recognising any inappropriate feelings. Arthur (105) has, with a groan of relief, endorsed his wife’s proposal.