Back in April, I was interviewed for a documentary by Charli Burden and Kathryn Dowling, two MA Broadcast Journalism students. I was asked about how The Anne Boleyn Files started and also whether I saw The Anne Boleyn Files site as a ‘fan club’.
Charli and Kathryn had previously interviewed Alison Weir who had said that “virtual fan clubs on the internet” are “obsessive” and “have gone too far from objective research”, and that an emotional engagement with an historical character “can distort your view”, so they wanted to hear how I viewed my website.
Here are clips from my interview:
I do not believe that an emotional engagement with an historical character necessarily distorts your view. Eric Ives has written about how Anne Boleyn was the third woman in his life after his wife and daughter, and when he spoke to our group on one of our tours he told us to shut him up when we’d had enough because he could talk about Anne “until the cows came home”. Passion and emotion do not equal bias or distortion. For me, my passion for the subject means that I try harder to get to the truth of the matter, it’s what motivates me to spend endless hours researching. Without passion, history is a rather dead subject, don’t you think?
Of course, some people take things to extremes and see historical characters as modern day celebrities and make life decisions based on how they think that person would have lived their life, but then there are always extremes and everybody is entitled to their views anyway and who am I to tell someone how to live their life?
You can see Charli and Kathryn’s interviews with Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory and some Anne Boleyn ‘super fans’ on their project website The Boleyn Project