Time Team was both good and bad. The issue that nobody seems to have
addressed is precisely this 3-day format.
When I was fighting hard to raise the profile of local archaeology, and to
improve the way in which it was integrated into the planning process (a
golden age that may now have slipped past, I note) one of my biggest
problems was in trying to convince (often unsuccessfully) the powers-that-be
that it was unrealistic to expect the archaeologists to go into a site over
a 3-day period and work miracles. The facility with which geophysical
surveyors were found, illustrators worked and all the other 'add-ons' to the
holes was misleading to my bosses and developers.
So, although TT undoubtedly made 'good' TV, and brought to life our
discipline for many more than might otherwise have discovered it, I view its
demise with mixed feelings.
The need to find an alternative to show how even small, insignificant,
details can help build a picture about our past is clear.
I would like to see something which could develop the idea of bringing
together the different elements in a more structured and (dare I suggest)
honest time frame and story. People understand the time it takes to conduct
research projects in the real world, so why not on TV?
I envisage something which identifies an historical
event/mystery/story/whatever, and tries to interpret it and get to the
bottom. Recent work on such things as Bosworth, combining historic research,
intelligent detecting, fieldwork often but not necessarily including
excavation, landscape archaeology and study, and then the conclusions is an
example of the sort of thing I have in mind. It isn't quick, and it may not
always provide the answers expected, but it is real research on a large
scale, and ought to show how different aspects join together to reach a
TT was almost there, but the sexing-up by imposing an artificial deadline
(as if we don't have enough real ones) undermined it in my view.
I am (sort of) enjoying the current series (Prehistoric Autopsy) with the
mesmeric Alice Roberts, but would dearly like a little more openness about
the expense in such programmes. The creation of superb life-sized mosels is
something which the average museum can only dream of, simply because of the
cost. And that was nother problem with TT. I don't know how true it was, but
I was told early on that the budget of a single programme was enough to have
covered the entire archaeology costs to the City Council for more than two
years, at a time when we had a decently-sized team.
Compare TT with Julian Richards' 'Meet the Ancestors' and my vote would
almost invariably go to the latter.
As for Neil Oliver? Please, no! Some of us see more than enough of him
----- Original Message -----
From: "Cerridwen Connelly" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: Time Team axed
> As an archaeological print journalist, I was a fan until about a year ago
> when the same old same old just got too boring. Mick was right to quit.
> Shame they didn't axe Tony and replace him with Neil Oliver. Now that
> would be worth watching! Neil's BBC documentaries are fascinating and have
> "tempo" in the presentation and editing.
> Another negative about Time Team was that you just cannot do justice to a
> site in three days. I recall an argument I had with a man from the
> Winchester Museum about this, explaining to him that it wasn't dumbed down
> deliberately; there just wasn't the budget to add more days to the show.