Monthly Archives: April 2013

Something slightly different today: an article I wrote for this week’s Varsity that recommends TV programmes that you can totally justify watching instead of revising because they kind of fit in with your subject…

Find yourself craving iPlayer halfway through an intense revision session? Read on for subject specific television recommendations that are (almost) completely justifiable as revision aids.

Social and Political SciencesThe Politician’s Husband started on BBC Two this week. If you’re already craving your next David Tennant fix after the finale of Broadchurch on Monday, then one is for you. Tennant plays the husband of a government minister in what the BBC describes as ‘a drama about the shifting power in a marriage when the personal and political collide.’ Personal and political? Watching this is absolutely necessary if you want to pass your exams.

History –The BBC made a huge effort to sell The Village as a naturalistic period piece: Downton Abbey it most certainly ain’t. Its focus is the working classes, and the plan is to track the lives of the inhabitants of a Peak District village through historical events of the early 20th century, kicking off with the First World War. It’s gritty, bleak and depressing and therefore can be passed off easily as revision.

EconomicsThe Apprentice is back next month. It’s as if the BBC scheduled it specifically to fit into your revision timetable. Whether you watch it to come up with your own strategy for each task, or simply to scare yourself into working harder so you never have to resort to being a contestant, this type of revision is totally justified.

Psychology – Sometimes I do wonder if Britain’s Got Talent is one big psychological experiment: how long can we keep the nation entertained with dancing racoons and singing grannies? Ponder this question and others (what on earth possessed that guy to think dancing with a broomstick nun whilst dressed as a priest was entertainment? And what on earth were the judges thinking when they put him through?) as you kick back with a cup of tea, safe in the knowledge that this is definitely time well spent.

Classics – The writers of Roman sitcom Plebs (episodes of which are still available on ITV player) insist that they approached none other than Mary Beard herself for advice on content. If it has the approval of your professor, it’s definitely legitimate revision.

English – Fed up of reading novels? There are plenty of adaptations out there. Order the box sets and put your feet up.  Studying languages? Take your DVD box set of choice, set the subtitles to the appropriate language and hey presto! You’re revising.

Geography –Want to see some Part IA Geopolitics in action? Then look no further than the box set of Homeland. Nothing says US imperialism quite like a morally questionable drone strike. It annoyed me that I couldn’t watch without making parallels to ideas about ‘self’ and ‘other’, and wondering what Edward Said would have thought. I guess that’s just what Geography does to you, apart from give you a love of highlighters and a high tolerance for cold, wet weather. Physical geographers can look to Game of Thrones for some relevant respite. Despite all the political and sexual intrigue, the underlying ‘winter is coming’ theme means it’s essentially about climate change.

Physics – Not that you ever need justification to watch Doctor Who, but physicists have the advantage here because pondering the possibility of time travel and the existence of parallel universes is obviously revision. Right?

There you have it. Put the kettle on, put your feet up, and work while you watch. Revision never needs to be a chore again.

The (slightly edited) Varsity article is here.