BAFTA-winning success for two great historians

BBC History   |   Case Study


  • Sir Ian Kershaw was one of the greatest historians of our time, a best-selling author and former Professor at The University of Sheffield
  • Laurence Rees, as Head of BBC History, was also a widely respected historian, best-selling author and multi-award winning filmaker
  • Both were taking part in a ground-breaking new series documenting Nazi Germany
  • For Laurence, this would be his first time talking to camera as a presenter rather than being a "talking head" - he was more used to producing presenters rather than being one himself
  • And for Sir Ian, he was also about to present an hour long lecture broadcast by the BBC for which he'd be using an Autocue (teleprompter) - something he'd never done before
  • Both felt they needed some guidance so were recommended to us


  • A two-hour coaching session for each presenter - one held at BBC TV Centre in the studio used for the programme and another at an off-site venue


  • Both presenters improved, feeling much more comfortable and with a significant enhancement in their on-camera abilities
  • In a note from producers, they said they both thought the sessions were "very worthwhile"
  • The Nazis - A Warning From History was critically acclaimed worldwide, winning a BAFTA amongst other awards and spawned a best-selling book
  • The follow-up, Auschwitz was also a worldwide hit with similar publishing success
  • In addition, Sir Ian's live, hour-long lecture was broadcast on BBC 4 without a hitch and the presenter was warm, compelling and natural - in fact, it was hard to tell he was using a teleprompter


 - Testimonial

"Very worthwhile"

Both Laurence and Sir Ian improved with the sessions, and so the producers think they were very worthwhile. Thanks for all your help.

Christian Watt BBC History