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Popular TV presenter Neil Oliver introduces 'A History of Scotland'

14 October 2009


There’s a treat in store at Stirling Castle next week for fans of the hit BBC TV series A History of Scotland.  The presenter, popular Scottish historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, will be hosting a unique event to introduce his new book - also entitled A History of Scotland - and talk about the making of the successful series which caught the imagination of millions of viewers by recounting the dramatic stories of our nation’s rich past.

Historic Scotland, who worked with the BBC on the series in order to feature many of their properties in care, are providing an appropriate venue for the event.

Stirling Castle’s stunning Great Hall is the venue at 7pm on Tuesday, 20th October for the joint Historic Scotland and Waterstone’s event at which Neil will talk about his new publication and the making of the authoritative TV series.  The beautifully illustrated book uses the latest historical research and places Scotland’s story in the wider context of British, European and global history.  Signed copies will be available for purchase during the evening.

Tickets for the event, priced £5, are available from Waterstone’s Stirling shop at Unit 1, Thistle Marches or by calling 01786 478756.

Neil said: “I’m delighted to be coming to Stirling Castle to speak about A History of Scotland – both my new book and the BBC series.  This majestic stronghold played an incredibly important role throughout our country’s history and was the setting for so many defining events of its past.  It’s therefore a really appropriate place to talk about programmes and a publication which highlight the dramatic stories which shaped our nation’s destiny.”

Neil, who was born in Ayr and is a graduate of Glasgow University’s prestigious Archaeology Department, first came to the attention of the public in 2002 in the BBC TV series Two Men in a Trench, which recounted tales of famous British battlefields.  Since then he has impressed viewers in several hugely popular series - including Coast and Time Team in addition to A History of Scotland - and become established as a charismatic and passionate presenter whose love of history inspires in others interest and enthusiasm for his subject.

Gillian MacDonald, Head of Visitor Services and Business Development at Stirling Castle said: “Our Historic Scotland properties feature heavily throughout the History of Scotland series.  The heritage buildings and attractions we care for hold so many of the much loved and lesser known historical stories of Scotland.  We are, therefore, delighted to welcome Neil to Stirling Castle for this event.”

Notes for editors

  • Neil Oliver is an archaeologist, historian, author and broadcaster.  His 2002 television debut, BBC Two’s Two Men in a Trench featured him visiting historic British battlefields and recreating the battle situation using state-of-the-art archaeological techniques, and he co-wrote two books on the series.  In 2005, he wrote a tie-in book on Channel 4 documentary Not Forgotten, and became the archaeological and social history expert on Coast, which he then presented for its second and third series.  In 2006 he starred in Channel 4's The Face of Britain and BBC Two's Scotland's History: The Top Ten.  He also appeared on Channel 4's Time Team Big Royal Dig edition at Holyrood House.  Neil was a contributor to BBC One's The One Show in 2007 and also appeared as a presenter of BBC Two series The History Detectives.  His latest TV project has been the highly popular ten-part series, A History of Scotland on BBC Two.

  • Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s grandest castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. From the castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views over two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town, off M9 junction 9 or 10. Tel: 01786 450000. Admission: Adult £9.00; Child £4.50; Concessions £7.00 (includes admission to Argyll’s Lodging).  For full details of ticket prices and opening times, visit

  • Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. An ambitious £12 million scheme, the Stirling Castle Palace Project, is currently underway to restore and refurbish the Royal Palace at Stirling and present the Royal Lodgings as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court in the mid 16th century. An interpretive display on the court of James V will be created in the palace vaults and a Renaissance Gallery on the upper floors of the palace will house the original Stirling Heads, a rare group of intricately carved oak ceiling medallions depicting kings,queens, courtiers and mythological creatures.  Costumed interpreters will bring to life the history of the 16th century to enrich visitors’ enjoyment.

  • Stirling Castle is one of over 345 outstanding heritage properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland.  Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country. Among the most popular are Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Skara Brae, and the Border Abbeys.  For further details visit: Historic Scotland’s Mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information

Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing and Media Manager
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871