The Jacobites

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started1st Mar 1995
ended29th Mar 1995
last rpt22nd Oct 1997
4 school years
duration20 mins
subject 🏛️History
age rangeAge 9-12Age 9-11 & Age 11-13
languageenIn English

The Jacobites is a Channel 4 Schools series from the 1990s, covering History for Primary, Secondary pupils.

A look at different aspects of the 1745 Jacobite uprising, originally made to coincide with the 250th anniversary of those events.

Actor Gerard Kelly drives rather manically around Scotland to investigate this part of British history. At the site of the Battle of Culloden he finds an old coin with time travel abilities, which conjures up characters from 250 years ago to explain things to him, and occasionally allows him to travel back in time too.

In the first four episodes Gerard meets a different character each week to give him a different perspective on the events, and in the last he considers what he has found out and tries to reconcile the different points of view.

For some cross-curricular links the historical characters, played convincingly by actors, explore modern times.

  • Jean, a young girl from a Jacobite clan, goes to a 1990s fish market to see how butchery techniques had changed.
  • Alexander, a Jacobite soldier, meets a Canadian tourist shopping for high-end tartans.
  • Michael, a soldier in the English army, visits the modern army.
  • Charlotte, a minister's wife and English Loyalist, meets a woman priest in modern times.

The series is presented in a knowing and energetic way, quite aware of its place as a schools TV programme which teachers will make students watch: the second episode is introduced "here we are, video time! Now you all have to sit and watch a programme, you don't have to pay attention and the teacher goes out for a wee cup of tea."

Episode List

# Title Broadcast
1. Jean's Story #1995-03-01-00-00-001 Mar 1995
2. Alexander's Story #1995-03-08-00-00-008 Mar 1995
3. Michael's Story #1995-03-15-00-00-0015 Mar 1995
4. Charlotte's Story #1995-03-22-00-00-0022 Mar 1995
5. Gerard's Journey #1995-03-29-00-00-0029 Mar 1995


Year Term Day Time Channel Dates Details
1994-95 Spring & Summer 1995 Wed 10:18 Channel 4 1 Mar to 29 Mar
10 May to 14 Jun

1995-96 Summer 1996 Thu 11:00 Channel 4 16 May to 20 Jun

1996-97 Summer 1997 Tue 10:10 Channel 4 13 May to 17 Jun

1997-98 Autumn 1997 Wed 10:30 Channel 4 24 Sep to 22 Oct


Presented by Gerard Kelly
With Rebecca Chisholm as Jean

Gabriel McTurk as Alexander

With thanks to St John Maxwell Primary School, Glasgow

Order of the White Rose

Education Officer Molly Balfour
Music Capercaillie
Researcher Mick Morton
Camera Jerry Kelly
Graphics Central Design
Producer Alan Clements
Director Don Coutts
A Move on Up, Wark Clements & Company co-production for Channel 4


There was a teacher's guide, a poster and a video of the series available to schools.


Related programmes

Sources & References

  • Channel 4 Learning (1998) Teaching History and Geography for Primary and Middle Schools 1998/99. Warwick: Channel 4 Schools. p.6
  • Channel 4 Press Packs 1995-1997. available online from the British Universities Film & Video Council (membership required)
  • Lang, Seán (1995) 'Biting Back at the Jacobites' in Times Educational Supplement 17 March 1995. p.22
  • Pennie, Gavin (1995) 'History Teacher Jamie Is in Great Demand!' in The Paisley Daily Express 27 February 1995. p.5
  • Times Educational Supplement TV listings, 1995-1997.

And recordings of 2 episodes.


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