I just watched the Military History Channel’s The Barbarians II: The Saxons. What a mixed bag that overall leaves me outraged. First let me say that they got good experts: Chris Snyder, Richard Abels, Michael Jones, and one other whose name I didn’t catch. They all gave good quotes; no one was taken out of context. But then in the recreations were just plain wrong.
Didn’t they bother to read Bede at all? Æthelfrith is portrayed as a barbarian fiend vs. very civilized looking Deirans. Æthelfrith supposedly kills Edwin’s father (very contradictory to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle who has him dies years earlier and another king Æthelric in Deira in 604), captures Edwin’s sister but Edwin escapes though he is in the room when Acha is captured by Ætethelfrith personally. Raedwald apparently had intentions to make his son king of Northumbria but gives it to Edwin when his “only” son is killed. Well Raedwald had at least one more son, probably two (Eorpwald and Sigebert). [I don’t believe that Sigebert was a step-son because he would have no right to East Anglia after Eorpwald. I suspect that Raedwald cast him out perhaps with his mother for political reasons.] So Edwin rules for a while, converts, and then is killed by pagans!!!! No mention that Edwin is killed by a Briton, Cadwallon, who Bede specifically says was Christian. Then it jumps to the Vikings! Nothing on Oswald the first English saint, or the golden age of Northumbria, no mention of Bede.
The real history is a good story. I don’t understand why they have to warp it so badly.
Here are some clips from The Saxons segment.