Autobiography and history on screen: The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten

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Coll, Rebecca 

The television series, The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten (1968), was a unique collaboration between an independent production company, Associated-Rediffusion, a national museum, the Imperial War Museum, and one of the most famous aristocratic and military figures of the 20th century, Lord Mountbatten. Furthermore, Mountbatten was the programme’s presenter, appearing on screen to describe his experiences autobiographically. Through the use of film and images, Mountbatten’s ‘life’ was intertwined with the historical ‘times’ of over half a century. Though praised at the point of its release to British audiences in 1969 by the public, critics and historians alike, The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten has since largely been ignored by scholars interested in the history-on-television genre. By detailing the origins, format, production and reception of the series, and by comparing it to both The Great War (1964) and The World at War (1973-1974), which were also produced in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, the immediate success and subsequent failure of The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten to attract popular and academic attention provides an argument for widening the discussion on television history and its limited categorizations.


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via.

autobiography, history, television, Imperial War Museum, The Great War, The World at War
Journal Title
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
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Informa UK Limited