Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Beeb

The Beeb (BBC for American readers) came to do some filming at Jesus College Oxford the other day, and to interview yours truly about the career of Edward Lhuyd, the father of Celtic Philology, and one of the greatest scholars and antiquarians of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. (He died in 1707). Lhuyd was a student in law at Jesus, before becoming assistant to Dr Plot, the first Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum.

It was a very odd experience, and all in Welsh. It's for a documentary which will be broadcast in May called 'O Flaen dy Lygaid' (In Front of Your Eyes), and which was essentially a 'Who Do you Think You Are?' show about what makes someone a Celt.

The crew were absolutely charming - I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, although - Welsh readers be warned - my responses weren't as fluent as I would have liked. Still, it'll more or less be comprehensible I hope. I was described as an 'arbennigwr mewn ieithoedd Celtaidd', 'an expert in Celtic languages', which is probably pushing it a bit far.

We sat in the gorgeous Jesus College Fellows' Library, full of centuries-old leatherbound books, while I was asked questions about p and q Celtic, the idea that the Celts are a myth, Celtic languages, and so on. The results will be faintly comic.

As my partner commented, 'The camera adds ten pounds.'

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