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A History of Syria with Dan Snow

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Messages: 1 - 29 of 29
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Stokey Sue (U14258170) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    Tonight, Monday 11 March, 21:00 BBC 2

    www.bbc.co.uk/progra...

    Looking forward to this, though a bit worried it is only a single hour which seems skimped really

    Declaring a minor interest; I have been to Syrai (twice) and loved it, I am currently very upset about the news I see

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by tremendousknowledgedave (U15629598) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    The situation must be very upsetting for anyone familiar with the country. I would be very interested to know someting of Syria's history, but any programme with the name of the presenter in the title instantly puts me off for some reason.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by Stokey Sue (U14258170) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    The situation must be very upsetting for anyone familiar with the country. I would be very interested to know someting of Syria's history, but any programme with the name of the presenter in the title instantly puts me off for some reason.   I know what you mean, but Dan Snow is probably the man for the job

    I went to Syria largely because of Terry Jones' History of the Crusades, so thanks to the Beeb for that

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by GARGLEBLASTER (U3191065) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    The situation must be very upsetting for anyone familiar with the country. I would be very interested to know someting of Syria's history, but any programme with the name of the presenter in the title instantly puts me off for some reason.  

    Yes, I agree with you but as I too have visited Syria and loved it and it's people, I wil probably watch the programme in spite of the presenter and hope there will be more footage of Syria than of Dan Snow.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Amysmythe (U14487265) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    Unfortunately Desperate Dan Snow is on his track record likely to decide that he is more important that Syria.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    Blame the production more than Dan .... but he doesn't have to go along with the gimmickry.

    I hope this is handled sensitively. The horrific stories coming from Syria suggest that will be hard.

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by leadedbee (U5555345) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    How they got the access to some of those people and places is a tribute to the film makers. Dan Snow handled the commentary well. A very informative if not depressing programme.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by GARGLEBLASTER (U3191065) on Monday, 11th March 2013

    I'm sorry I watched it. How could anyone make such a fascinating country with such an incredibly long history as Syria as boring as Dan Snow managed?

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013


    Any more views on this programme?

    Did you watch?

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by SquiddlyDiddly (U15632483) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    I'd like to come out in support of the programme and say it was quite good in the way it conveyed the appalling mess that is Syrian history and politics, and I was surprised that he was able to get access to some fairly dangerous areas (attending an Orthodox Christan service while shells were falling outside).

    He was also able to represent the conflict from more than one viewpoint, for which he deserves a pat on the back.

    Before watching the programme, I pretty much embraced the pro-SFA stance of the Western media, whereas I can now appreciate the prediciament that many Alawites and Christians find themselves in.



    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by meldrewsrevenge (U13159010) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    The situation must be very upsetting for anyone familiar with the country. I would be very interested to know someting of Syria's history, but any programme with the name of the presenter in the title instantly puts me off for some reason.   I'm still trying to make up my mind whether Dan Snow's Finest Hour was taking off his clothes and swimming in a river to show us what mediaeval people swimming must have been like, or Dan Snow shovelling a cartload of specially delivered horse poo in a London street to show us what mediaeval peopkle shovelling horse poo must have looked like.

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by Stokey Sue (U14258170) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013


    Any more views on this programme?

    Did you watch?  
    I was right in the first place - a single hour not nearly enough - rather a waste of the dangerous trip to film live, a good selection of interviewees and some excellent archive footage

    In fact it felt as if it had been cut down from a longer piece - there seemed to be strange jump cuts. For example we went straight from the Umayyads to the First World War, missing out the Janissaries, the Ottomans and the Armenian diaspora. Then we went straight from the French rule (which was interesting, probably the bit I knew least about) to Hafez Al Assad taking over, without Syria ever apparently gaining independence from France. There probably ought to have been a bit more about interaction with Lebanon too – when I went to Lebanon 11 years ago Assad’s troops were still manning roadblocks on Lebanese soil, there’s a lot of ongoing tension around the Lebanon/Syria split.

    And so on and so forth

    Similarly, rushing through, we never knew where most of the locations were; obviously some had to be concealed but there was a lot of screen time given to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus which i don’t think was ever mentioned as such. I think people would have got more out of the programme if this sort of thing had been clearer but it was pared down so far the detail got lost.

    A few maps would have helped too; did the budget run out? Just showing us where Latakia is relative to Hama and Homs would help.

    Frustrating – so nearly good but a bit messed up. An hour of proper history followed by an houir of recent history drawing on that as background would have made so much more sense.

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by mirandashell (U1946590) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    Surely there is enough history to make a series out of it? The Beeb have done that for the Romans, why not the Syrians? Seeing as the history underpins what is going on there now.

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    .... or, of course, Dan pushing a wheelbarrow full of meat through the streets of modern London, to the surprise of passers-by, to show us what pushing a wheelbarrow full of meat through medieval London wouldn't have looked like.

    ...... so was that or was that not, including the swimming, really 'immersive'? Better have a meeting.

    As wearily familiar, here we had countless shots of Dan and bits of Dan, not least his big flailing hands, as well as haphazard pointless shots of people in streets - where? why? - and the travelogue thing As usual the information took second place to that tedious now dominant programme styling.

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by heterodox (U14291406) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    '.....straight from the Umayyads to the First World War, missing out the Janissaries, the Ottomans and the Armenian diaspora. '

    Yes: but this is a programme for popular consumption which was scheduled for one hour so something had to go.
    After a slow start, this went on to demonstrate once again how a toxic mix of imperialism, nationalism and religious conflict (this last dating from some fifteen hundred years ago) can blight the lives of ordinary people.
    Normally I don't like Dan Snow but I thought he did well here. The programme held my attention throughout and I learned from it. More to be said for the regimes of the Assads than I thought and there is, it seems, some justification for the claim that a popular uprising is being exploited by religious fundamentalists.

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by SquiddlyDiddly (U15632483) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    That's pretty much how I see it. smiley - ok

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by Stokey Sue (U14258170) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    Yes: but this is a programme for popular consumption which was scheduled for one hour so something had to go.. 
    That's exaclty my point - WHYy did it have to be compressed to an hour, - it really felt "cut-down" to me


    Normally I don't like Dan Snow but I thought he did well here. The programme held my attention throughout and I learned from it. More to be said for the regimes of the Assads than I thought and there is, it seems, some justification for the claim that a popular uprising is being exploited by religious fundamentalists. 



    I thought Dan Snow did well mingling hostory and current events- and if he hadn't been in shot we'd have assumed it was library footage in the circumstances

    I don't know why peopel keep mentioning things he did in other programmes, completely irrelevant to what he did here.

    When I went to Syria, as Dan saidm many people didn't like Assad, but they did like the acheivements of a strong regime - relatively good schools, transport & health services compared to other countries in the region, not to be sneezed at .

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    There was a programme about the area ..... I believe, possibly, one of those about the colour photography of Albert Kahn - not sure ...... which very well explained the developments in Turkey, the Lebanon and Syria after the First World War, making good use of period film of the places and prominent figures. It worked steadily, clearly and informatively through the story ...... without needing to show Dan Snow's feet.

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by heterodox (U14291406) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    'WHYy did it have to be compressed to an hour, ....'

    I think because an hour's duration probably reflects the extent of most people's interest. It is after all ' a far away country of which we know little'.
    I think it's important that we do not apply the standards of western democracies to those Arab countries which tend to be riven by religious differencies. Saddam Hussein, for all his faults and also a Baathist, did maintain Iraq in comparative peace by keeping Sunnis and Shi'ites from each others throats. Remove the secular 'strong man' and you get the rule of extremist mullahs who will turn on those of other faiths whether at home or abroad.
    This, I thought, was the message that came out of Snow's programme and it was an important point to make.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    I remember an excellent long two part BBC documentary about the Balkan conflict, The Death of Yugoslavia (on Youtube - was anyway), and the seriousness of the situation in Syria deserves similar treatment, not this lightweight approach.

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Johnap (U1989184) on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

    I enjoyed it but would have preferred a more detailed programme. I suppose that would need a series and I don't think I could stand Dan Snow for that long.

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by looksalot (U14606492) on Wednesday, 13th March 2013

    '.....straight from the Umayyads to the First World War, missing out the Janissaries, the Ottomans and the Armenian diaspora. '

    Yes: but this is a programme for popular consumption which was scheduled for one hour so something had to go.
    After a slow start, this went on to demonstrate once again how a toxic mix of imperialism, nationalism and religious conflict (this last dating from some fifteen hundred years ago) can blight the lives of ordinary people.
    Normally I don't like Dan Snow but I thought he did well here. The programme held my attention throughout and I learned from it. More to be said for the regimes of the Assads than I thought and there is, it seems, some justification for the claim that a popular uprising is being exploited by religious fundamentalists. 
    I've just caught up with this programme and agree with heterdox's comments. Some of the negative comments had me wondering whether I would bother watching. But I found it informative and often moving - I think Dan Snow did well.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by kiltyboy (U10022760) on Wednesday, 13th March 2013


    Any more views on this programme?

    Did you watch?  
    Although there were one or two bits where chunks of history were skimmed over,(seemed to omit the role of Deraa in the present conflict, not much on the Crusades, and was a bit vague on the transition from French rule) I was generally very impressed with the programme. It gave good background into some of the historical, political, religious and social factors which play some part in modern day Syria.
    I've visited the country several years ago, and the programme seemed to give a fairly faithful representation of the place and its people. My compliments to the programme makers for a fine effort, which would have been wothy of mention at anytime, never mind a time of such turmoil....

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by oldmanriver (U14455170) on Wednesday, 13th March 2013

    "Lightweight" sums it up. The other drawback was Dan Snow.

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by SquiddlyDiddly (U15632483) on Thursday, 14th March 2013

    Is this another one of those threads where we all have to sift through several volumes of recently acquired library books in order to prove the presenter wrong?

    'Cos if it is I am definitely up for it! smiley - ok

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by heterodox (U14291406) on Thursday, 14th March 2013

    'I've visited the country several years ago, and the programme seemed to give a fairly faithful representation of the place and its people.'

    It's nice for those of us who rated this programme positively to have the endorsement of someone who knows something of Syria at first-hand.

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 26.

    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Thursday, 14th March 2013

    It did improve and was informative towards the middle but something without the unnecessary tricksy diversions would have been in order.

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by heterodox (U14291406) on Thursday, 14th March 2013

    'I've visited the country several years ago, and the programme seemed to give a fairly faithful representation of the place and its people.'

    It's nice for those of us who rated this programme positively to receive the endorsement of someone who knows something of Syria at first hand.

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by shivfan (U2435266) on Sunday, 17th March 2013

    I watched this programme, and I thought it was excellent...not the usual anti-Assad propaganda that we've been seeing on the news these days. It's not as simple as "Assad bad, rebels good", which is what our politicians would have us believe.

    Dan Snow did a very good job of showing us that this is very much a civil war, and why it's a civil war. I'm just disappointed that this is not on iplayer, because it should be a must-watch for all our politicians....

    Report message29

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