Edge Hill History Lecturer Dr Bob Nicholson became a Twitter sensation when his rant about a reproduction Victorian newspaper in the new Dickens movie went viral.
Bob was watching the trailer for the new Charles Dickens movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, when he spotted that the layout of the newspaper ‘Dickens’ was reading was inaccurate – something he has noticed previously in other historical dramas.
He tweeted: ‘STOP PUTTING MASSIVE HEADLINES ON VICTORIAN NEWSPAPERS’ followed by a series of tweets explaining how Victorian newspaper front pages really looked, stating that ‘media history matters too.’
Bob’s initial tweet garnered 3,500 retweets and another that demonstrated how the front page should look like gained an extraordinary 3,800 favourites.
The thread led to an article on page three of The Times newspaper, with further coverage on the Daily Mail website and even a mention in The Guardian’s review of the film itself.
Bob said: “I’m very surprised by the amount of attention that this story has received. I regularly use twitter to share bits of Victorian history with a wider audience. I’ve posted thousands of tweets over the years, but none of them have ‘gone viral’ in quite this way before – I expected that my rant might be read by a hundred history enthusiasts at best. If I’d have known that it would go viral, I hope that I wouldn’t have got the date of Dickens’ death wrong! It’s all been a little bit overwhelming, but I’m pleased that it seems to have kick-started some interesting conversations about the history of journalism.
“It seems to have struck a chord. On the one hand, lots of people care about historical accuracy in films – they’ve been telling me all about the other mistakes they’ve spotted. To be honest, I’m really not that obsessed with historical accuracy. My favourite adaptation of Dickens is still the Muppet Christmas Carol, which isn’t exactly a slave to the facts! I haven’t seen The Man Who Invented Christmas yet, but I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun too, regardless of how it presents newspapers.”