This week I watched Channel 5’s new reality TV show, 10,000 BC. I normally dislike reality TV, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. But that’s pretty much what this blog is all about, so I put myself on the line for you guys. And, for what it’s worth, the show isn’t completely awful. Yet.
I know it’s fashionable among historians to rinse the poor rubes who ‘represented a cross-section of 21st-century Britain’ for sounding like clueless idiots. But then most of the historians I know would be more comfortable surrounded by books and bottles of gin than the era they actually study. I did an online quiz once that said I would do really well in Ancient Rome, but it never asked whether I could actually speak Latin. So who are we to cast aspersions?
As Digventures rightly points out, the show is more about how ‘normal’ modern people get on than about the actual time period itself. After all, you chuck a bunch of strangers together, in a survival situation, with none of the native skills, it’s going to be more of a social experiment than a reflection of a historic reality.
If you want to know what the latter would’ve looked like, check this 13-month experiment out:
Unlike other shows in a similar bracket, the ‘tribe’ mint a leader pretty quickly and don’t really argue too much. Two people leave in the first episode, but not a whole load of fuss is made about it. Other channels would’ve hammed things up a bit in order to make it more emotional. So yeah, I can’t complain about it too much. But if the trailer for the next show is anything to go by, it will shed viewers who are interested in the historical side pretty quickly. Maybe it’s for the best.