Lovely sunshine meant loads of washing, and loads of washing means loads of ironing. I set up the ironing board in the sitting room and went through the channels on the TV to find something to watch. I was pleased to find that my all-time favourite programme was being repeated, Time Team.
Time team is a programme about archaeology, using a team of renowned and revered archaeologists and other experts. it is presented by Tony Robinson, now Sir Tony, who is well-known as an actor, and the premise is that the team have three days to do a ‘dig’, usually to find a particular thing, or the truth about a particular place, or at the behest of a viewer, or history club or society, who believe they have something of interest in their local. It may seem on paper to be an artificial concept ‘only three days to find out whether…’ but if it was just an open-ended challenge it would go on forever! However, because of the quality of those involved, their knowledge, their personalities, the seriousness with which they took on the challenge – and yet with friendly humour among the team, it was not only a huge, huge success, but must have inspired thousands upon thousands of people young and old to become interested in history, and what lies beneath our feet.
There were twenty series plus ‘specials’, for example week-end events, and although there were many different people involved, the main team consisted of a lead archaeologist, usually Professor Mick Aston, a couple of diggers and archaeologists including the amazing Phil Harding and his hat, a landscape investigator, a geophysicist, a surveyor and an illustrator. There were other regular diggers, who appeared week after week, series after series.
The programme was eventually cancelled which was a great shame; it had begun to change, in my opinion, as although the core team remained strong and never, ever, ever, ever dumbed down, somehow the emphasis seemed to shift as if trying to appeal to an imaginary audience who wouldn’t know the first thing about archaeology. In fact, I believe the viewers were enlightened and educated, enthralled and intrigued – even young children loved the show, as I know from my own family!
Watching it again as I busily ironed, I thought again how sad it was that it no longer had new series, and how grateful I was to all concerned for the twenty years of episodes I have enjoyed.