‘Real-life Game of Thrones’ Scots history show stars Stirling academic

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Highlands of Scotland

A major BBC history series focusing on Scotland’s clans features expertise from a senior University of Stirling academic.

BBC One’s Rise of the Clans, described as “the real life Game of Thrones”, includes analysis from Professor Richard Oram, Dean of Stirling’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Presented by Neil Oliver, the three-part series showcases “a blood-soaked saga of battles and feuds, loyalty and betrayal, love and death set against the country's wild mountains and glens”.

In this first episode, Neil followed the clans as they rallied behind Robert the Bruce in his against-all-odds bid to win Scotland's crown. Describing one bloody and dramatic clash, Professor Oram said: “The Scots army doesn’t even have an opportunity to assemble, to even put a reasonable type of defence.

Professor Richard Oram

Professor Richard Oram, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

“It’s caught unawares as the English heavy armour – the knights on horseback – come thundering through the encampment.

“Bruce’s army is shattered, scatters in all directions. There are heavy casualties and Bruce is left with a small hard-core of his inner retinue and they escape westwards.”

Professor Oram also highlighted the important role of poetry in conveying key messages, including how to organise militarily, in medieval times. And he described Bruce’s reorganisation of his soldiers into mobile infantry, increasing their effectiveness.

Episode two will chart the rise of Clan Stewart to become Scotland's royal dynasty, in a blood-soaked tale culminating with the dramatic assassination of King James I below a tennis court in Perth, 1437.

The final show will reveals how the clans plotted against Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, ultimately leading to her beheading.

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