'Time Team' is making a comeback and you can help

Originally published at: 'Time Team' is making a comeback and you can help | Boing Boing

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Time Team was a programme that shouldn’t work - digging holes to find a few bits of pot isn’t the image most people have of archaeology. But it did it beautifully because they assembled a group of charismatic experts and the programme makers were respectful of the history itself.

Having someone as accessible and easy going as Tony Robinson as the person to ask the ‘obvious’ questions the audience - especially the younger ones would be asking was a stroke of genius. Actually TR knew quite a lot of history and knew Mick Aston well, but he played the role perfectly. (A very similar approach was used by the BBC/Open University series ‘Rough Science’ to interpret experts and it worked just as well).

It didn’t matter that they weren’t going to find a Viking sword or a cache of gold coins - the process of discovery, getting things wrong, having to rethink assumptions and occasionally failing entirely was utterly compulsive. AND it’s a good learning exercise - experts are human - sometimes even they get things wrong, they have to revisit their ideas and sometimes they are baffled - they’re not so different from the rest of us.

Bloody marvellous series. I’m delighted they’re doing this and happy to be a Patreon of the project. Just a shame that Professor Aston and his fantastic jumpers won’t be along for the ride.


This is the tiny serotonin boost my brain needed today. I discovered this show in April when we were dealing with everything being shut down plus my dog having surgery and needing a lot of extra care, so I binged this show so much. Would love to know where to find the episodes that are not on Amazon Prime (there’s a gap in the seasons they have available)?

Also, my kids thought this was super boring bedtime viewing at first, but then they started to build Norman castles and Anglo-Saxon halls in Minecraft and it was super adorable.


(I add my voice to those made happy by this news.)


The Good: Time Team was an amazing program, and a lot of the personalities on the program, like Phil Harding, remain perfect treasures.

The Bad: RIP Mick Aston, and Tony Robinson has taken to repeating JK Rowling TERFdom.

But holy shit, do I love Time Team, and Phil- you just couldn’t write a character like Phil Harding. In one episode, their trailer with all their dig equipment is stolen- except for Phil’s, because Phil sleeps with his shovel.

(Looks like neither Tony nor Phil are attached, but Phil should be, Tony shouldn’t be)


Fuck yes! But hard to imagine without Phil.


Yeah, I was waiting for this to come up. Apologies for linking to the Torygraph.

Phil’s accent is the most delightful thing in the world to me. If I ever win the lottery I am moving to that part of England (I think it is called a West Country accent) and I just want to listen to people talk all day.


…and his hat. His filthy, filthy hat.


Oh for fucks sake. Why does a guy who appears so kind and great on TV have to be an asshat?


I LOVE Time Team. I discovered it about 6 months ago and it’s the most boring, slow-moving show ever. But then, you see what they are doing, answering these old questions, putting history back together pot sherd by mosaic bit by arrowhead… and a new story comes out that we moderns never knew. What an awesome show. I cannot get enough of Time Team.

And of course some of them are going to be asshats. I don’t know why everyone has to have an opinion outside of their wheelhouse. Stop fucking “defending” JK Rowling, you immense twit. Just dig up more history and help us understand the past. Is that not enough?


This road is well travelled, how many of us have been down it before? He just seems to have bought into the rhetoric of ‘cancel culture’ when the people being ‘cancelled’ have massive followings. To be honest, i don’t fully know the extent of his TER beliefs only that he’s supporting a well known transphobe.

I absolutely loved that show. I think you’re the first person I have ever talked to who has watched it as well.

As for Time Team, well, I’m an archaeologist and I have never seen another programme that came as close to the realities of what excavations are actually like. That includes Digging for Britain even though that one uses self shot videos from the sites.

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It’s a very broad West Country accent, and there’s plenty of variation in the region, especially as you head to the far South West and Cornwall which has its own language.

But for us down ‘ere every day is ‘Speak like a pirate day’.

Oh and the jam goes on the scone before the cream.


Rough Science was a huge hit for the BBC and the Open University, not sure why it hasn’t lingered in the memory. A terrific idea and Mike Bullivant the chemist was a star (really nice guy as well) - anyone who can make thermite from an old garage is a star in my book.


Yeah, Mike Bullivant really was the star of the show. That thermite bit also stuck in my mind because that was before YouTube existed, or at least before it was 50% thermite, as it is today and it was probably the first time I’d heard about the stuff.



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The producers have been posting old episodes on their Time Team Classics YouTube channel, as well as new interviews with members of the show on Time Team Official. (There are one or two other Youtube channels that seem to have some kind of license to post old BBC history programs as well, which includes Time Team, and some other great shows hosted by Tony e.g. Worst Jobs in History.) So just search Youtube and ye shall find.

Someone has put Rough Science on youtube



Facebook has a Time Team Fan page. Former members of the program are moderators including Carl Thorpe and John Gator. It’s a fun group