thu 21/11/2019

Too Much, Too Young: Children of the Middle Ages, BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

Too Much, Too Young: Children of the Middle Ages, BBC Four

Too Much, Too Young: Children of the Middle Ages, BBC Four

The lives of medieval children were frustratingly distant from this documentary

'Too Much, Too Young''s Dr Stephen Baxter. A rare moment at rest

Although billed as “a fresh look at the Middle Ages through the eyes of children”, presenter Dr Stephen Baxter had to admit the bulk of historic evidence for how medieval children lived their lives was written by adults. Unfiltered accounts from a child’s perspective are rare. Poring over the 1086 Domesday Book, the census of who, what and where, he noted that children aren’t mentioned. Evoking the barely known is a hard log to roll, and this frustrating programme barely nudged it along.

Share this article


dear sir, i saw an advert for this programme ( too much too young .. ) and really enjoyed the graphic design of text which cast a shadow that made it appear to float on parchment, I have tried a google search but cannot find any reference to this so I can see it again, please can you help ? even a screen capture of this introduction would be appreciated, thank you, danny

Dear Danny, You can watch the programme again here, which may help:

I was frustrated by the lack of infiormation on girls. Boys became adults at 12. What about girls? Amongst the servants would have been several adolescent boys. No girls? Boys were taken into monasteries as oblates. Were girls taken into convents? One girl is mentioned In the painting of children playing. Otherwise the only girl is Margaret Beaufort.

I’m shocked at the failure to even mention girls. They were completely forgotten in this programme which ruined it for me. Dr. Baxter should be ashamed of himself.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.