On 10th of July 2019, I wrote to BBC Complaints to say:
Dermot McCulloch, referring to England existing in the 10th or 11th Century says:
‘There wasn’t even really a place called Scotland.’
This is inaccurate:
This culminated in the rise of Cínaed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin) as “king of the Picts” in the 840s (traditionally dated to 843), which brought to power the House of Alpin. When he died as king of the combined kingdom in 900 one of his successors,Domnall II (Donald II), was the first man to be called rí Alban (King of Alba). The term Scotia would increasingly be used to describe the heartland of these kings, north of the River Forth, and eventually the entire area controlled by its kings would be referred to as Scotland.
- B. Webster, Medieval Scotland: the Making of an Identity(St. Martin’s Press, 1997), ISBN0333567617, p. 15.
- B. Yorke, The Conversion of Britain: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain c.600–800(Pearson Education, 2006), ISBN 0582772923, p. 54.
- A. O. Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, A.D. 500 to 1286(General Books LLC, 2010), vol. i, ISBN1152215728, p. 395.
- Webster, Medieval Scotland, p. 22.
Why was McCulloch, a non-historian, allowed to make such an error? Why was this statement not checked? Perhaps York and Anderson are too recent for him to be expected to have read?
Yesterday, I got this reply:
Thank you for contacting us regarding BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Invention of Britain’ broadcast on 18 June. I understand you believe Diarmaid MacCulloch inaccurately said: “there wasn’t even really a place called Scotland” in the 10th or 11th century. While Professor MacCulloch’s comments are his own views and not those of BBC staff, it’s not always possible to challenge every comment that is made by a contributor. Professor MacCulloch contributed to the programme based on his background as a British historian, however, we acknowledge that not everyone will agree with each choice we make as to who contributes to our programmes. We do value your feedback about the programme. All complaints are sent to senior management and in this case ‘The Invention of Britain’ production team every morning, and I’ve provided your comments on our audience feedback report.
McCulloch has previous on Anglocentric views of history. His ridiculous BBC documentary on the Battle of Britain ignored the Clydebank Blitz. I complained about it and he was indignant in the manner of a pompous bishop. Let’s see if he gets wind of my complaint.