Historians fight back as TV raids their research treasures for its showsHistorians in the News
tags: historians, documentaries, movies, plagiarism
The ever-expanding number of history programmes on television ought to mean boom time for historians. Yet a growing number of authors and academics believe they are being unfairly cut out of the process.
The Society of Authors says it has seen a rise in complaints from members about their work being used in TV shows without credit or payment.
The complaints range from being left out of a programme’s credits after handing over weeks of research to cases where entire books have been used as the basis for shows, according to Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the society. “It is a perennial problem, but there is a rise in complaints,” she told the Observer. “Our members really feel they should be asked and remunerated for their time.”
Lyndsy Spence, a historian who specialises in biographies of aristocratic women, says the makers of Channel 4’s Secret History: Churchill’s Secret Affair, which aired last year, asked for her help after discovering her book The Mistress of Mayfair. The biography of 1920s socialite Doris Delevingne – great aunt of the model and actor Cara Delevingne – includes passages about her affair with Winston Churchill.
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