This enjoyable and successful event was brought to UWE jointly by the UWE History Society and the Regional History Centre.
Over 60 people were present to hear Mick Aston reveal the secrets of how Time Team, the popular Channel 4 television programme, actually got to our television screens. From the early days of TV archaeology Mick took us through the problems encountered in getting interest from the TV companies and getting a TV ‘star’ to present the programme using slides showing a young Mick and a slightly younger Tony Robinson. Very large spectacles and wax jackets seemed to have been the order of the day!
Mick also explained how technology has allowed archaeology has benefited from TV ‘exposure’ and seemed surprised that the programme has such an iconic following. He also dispelled some myths, particularly the use of the helicopter which he insists on having for every episode because he enjoys the ride rather than archaeological necessity!
The audience was then treated to a preview of the next series due to be aired on Channel 4 from January 2009. With such diverse locations as a cliff top excavation in Cornwall coupled with a complementary ‘dig’ on a nearby island – excavations at Salisbury Cathedral and in County Durham during which a number of interesting finds were uncovered including a ‘star’ find of an intricately carved knife handle.
The talk was followed by a lively question and answer sessions hosted by Emma Croker, President of the UWE History Society, in which Mick fielded questions on topics such as time restraints, the choosing of suitable locations and archaeology as a profession. Mick had, however, precluded the inevitable question by concluding his talk with a slide that ‘unravelled’ the secret of his trade mark stripy jumpers!!!!