Time Team

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Time Team
Time Team logo
FormatArchaeology
Presented byTony Robinson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series20
No. of episodes275[n 1] as of 24 February 2013 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Tim Taylor
Running time47 minutes (excluding adverts)
Broadcast
Original channelChannel 4
Picture format4:3 (1994–1999)
16:9 (2000–)
Original run16 January 1994 (1994-01-16) – 24 March 2013 (2013-03-24)
Chronology
Preceded byTime Signs
Related shows
External links
Time Team Website
 
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Time Team
Time Team logo
FormatArchaeology
Presented byTony Robinson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series20
No. of episodes275[n 1] as of 24 February 2013 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Tim Taylor
Running time47 minutes (excluding adverts)
Broadcast
Original channelChannel 4
Picture format4:3 (1994–1999)
16:9 (2000–)
Original run16 January 1994 (1994-01-16) – 24 March 2013 (2013-03-24)
Chronology
Preceded byTime Signs
Related shows
External links
Time Team Website

Time Team is a British television series which has been aired on British Channel 4 from 1994. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode featured a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining the process in layman's terms. This team of specialists changed throughout the series' run, although has consistently included professional archaeologists such as Mick Aston, Carenza Lewis, Francis Pryor and Phil Harding. The sites excavated over the show's run have ranged in date from the Palaeolithic right through to the Second World War.

In October 2012, Channel 4 announced that the final series would be broadcast in 2013.[1] Series 20 was screened in January–March 2013 and a number of specials are planned to be screened into 2014.

Format[edit]

A team of archaeologists, usually led by either Mick Aston or Francis Pryor (the latter usually heads Bronze Age and Iron Age digs), and including field archaeologist Phil Harding, congregate at a site, usually in the United Kingdom. The site is frequently suggested by a member of the viewing public who knows of an unsolved archaeological mystery, or who owns property that has not been excavated and is potentially interesting. Time Team uncover as much as they can about the archaeology and history of the site in three days.

At the start of the programme, Tony Robinson explains, in an opening "piece to camera", the reasons for the team's visit to the site, and during the dig he enthusiastically encourages the archaeologists to explain their decisions, discoveries and conclusions. He tries to ensure that everything is comprehensible to the archaeologically uninitiated.

Excavations are not just carried out to entertain viewers. Tony Robinson claims that the archaeologists involved with Time Team have published more scientific papers on excavations carried out in the series than all British university archaeology departments put together over the same period;[2] and also that, as of 2013, the programme had become the biggest funder of field archaeology in the country.[3]

From left to right: Tony Robinson, Mick Aston, and Guy de la Bédoyère

Time Team developed from an earlier Channel 4 series, Time Signs, first broadcast in 1991. Produced by Taylor, Time Signs had featured Aston and Harding, who both went on to appear on Time Team. Following that show's cancellation, Taylor went on to develop a more attractive format, producing the idea for Time Team, which Channel 4 also picked up, broadcasting the first series in 1994. Time Team has had many companion shows during its run, including Time Team Extra (1998), History Hunters (1998-1999) and Time Team Digs (1997-2006), whilst several spin-off books have also been published. The series also features special episodes, often documentaries on history or archaeology, and live episodes. Time Team America, a US version of the programme, was broadcast on PBS in 2009, and co-produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Videotext/C4i. The programme has been exported to 35 other countries[4]

In February 2012, it was announced that expert Mick Aston had quit the show due to format changes. The disputed changes included hiring a former model (Mary Ann Ochota) as a co-presenter, the letting go of other archaeologists, and what he thought were plans to "cut down the informative stuff about the archaeology".[5] "The time had come to leave. I never made any money out of it, but a lot of my soul went into it. I feel really, really angry about it," he told British Archaeology magazine.[5] Time Team producer Tim Taylor released a statement in response to the news reports saying "His concerns are of great importance to me. We have addressed some of them", and that "you’ve not heard the last of Mick on Time Team".[6]

Other team members[edit]

The regular team also includes:

The original Time Team line-up from 1994 has altered over the years. The historian Robin Bush was a regular in the first nine series, having been involved with the programme through his long friendship with Mick Aston. In 2005, Carenza Lewis left to pursue other interests. She was replaced by Anglo-Saxon specialist Helen Geake.

Aston with Tim Taylor in 2005.

The team is supplemented by experts appropriate for the period and type of site. Guy de la Bédoyère has often been present for Roman digs, as well as those involving the Second World War such as D-Day and aircraft (such as the Spitfire). Margaret Cox often assists with forensic archaeology, and other specialists who appear from time to time include Bettany Hughes and David S. Neal, expert on Roman mosaics. Local historians also join in when appropriate.

More recent regular team members have included archaeologist Neil Holbrook, Roman coins specialist Philippa Walton, and historian Sam Newton.

Younger members of Time Team who have made, or currently make, regular appearances include:

Production[edit]

Time Team is commissioned by Channel 4 Television (the broadcaster) and made in partnership between VideoText Communications Ltd and Picturehouse Television Co. Ltd (based in London). Recently-formed Wildfire Television was involved in the production of The Big Roman Dig (2005) and The Big Royal Dig (2006). It is produced by Tim Taylor, the show's originator, with Associate Producer Tony Robinson.

Sites[edit]

Time Team excavating Groby Castle and Old Hall in 2010

Sites may be suggested by landowners, local archaeologists, academics, interested bodies or members of the general public, and have included everything from the Paleolithic period to World War II. For example programmes have featured the excavation of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements, Roman villas and medieval churches. Several excavations have resulted in the discovery of sites of national significance.

DVD releases[edit]

Complete series have been released in Australia starting with Series 15 in 2010.[9] Since then, Series 14 (2012),[10] Series 16 (2010),[11] Series 17 (2011), [12] Series 18 (2012), [13] Series 19 (2012) [14] and Series 20 (2013) [15] have all been released in Australia. 'Best Of' DVDs were released in the UK over the years however a complete series had never been released until Series 18 was released by Acorn Media UK on 6 February 2012. On 15 May 2012, Acorn Media released a collection of Roman themed episodes on Region One DVD.

Other formats[edit]

Other shows[edit]

Time Team's Big Dig was an expansion on the live format. A weekend of live broadcasts in June 2003 was preceded by a week of daily short programmes. It involved about a thousand members of the public in excavating test pits each one metre square by fifty centimetres deep. Most of these pits were in private gardens and the project stirred up controversies about approaches to public archaeology.

Time Team's Big Roman Dig (2005) saw this format altered, in an attempt to avoid previous controversies, through the coverage of nine archaeological sites around the UK which were already under investigation by professional archaeologists. Time Team covered the action through live link-ups based at a Roman Villa at Dinnington in Somerset - itself a Time Team excavation from 2003. Over 60 other professionally-supervised excavations were supported by Time Team and carried out around the country in association with the programme. A further hundred activities relating to Roman history were carried out by schools and other institutions around the UK.

Time Team Specials are documentary programmes about topics in history and archaeology made by the same production company. They are generally presented by Tony Robinson and often feature one or more of the familiar faces from the regular series of Time Team. In some cases the programme makers have followed the process of discovery at a large commercial or research excavation by another body, such as that to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the ending of the First World War at the Vampire dugout in Belgium. Time Team usually does not carry out excavations for these programmes, but may contribute a reconstruction.

Time Team History of Britain saw Tony and the team document everything they have learned up to now and show a history of Britain.

Behind the Scenes of Time Team showed meetings of the archaeologists, and material not transmitted during the episode of the dig.

10 Years of Time Team presented a round-up of what has happened in Time Team over the past 10 years and what they expect to happen in the future.

2007 accident[edit]

On 13 September 2007, during the filming of a jousting reenactment for a special episode of Time Team, a splinter from a balsa wood lance went through the eye-slit in the helmet of one of the participants and entered his eye socket. 54-year-old Paul Anthony Allen, a member of a re-enactment society, died a week later in hospital.[16] Channel 4 stated that the programme would be shown, but without the re-enactment sequence and the episode, dedicated to Mr Allen, was transmitted on 25 February 2008.

Influence[edit]

Time Team has been credited with promoting archaeology in the UK. In a 2008 report produced by English Heritage, a working group of Palaeolithic specialists recognised the importance of the show in "promoting public awareness" of Palaeolithic Britain, something which they argued was to be encouraged.[17]

Cancellation[edit]

It was announced in 2012 that the final series would be broadcast in 2013.[1] In 2008 the show hit the 2.5 million viewer mark, but the audience numbers had slowly declined with just 1.5 million watching a special called 'Brunel's Last Launch' in November 2011.[1] Mick Aston left the show, criticising changes in the show leading to less archaeological material.[1]

In October 2013 the Radio Times carried an interview with Tony Robinson in which he stated his belief that Time Team had still got life in it and suggested that after a three or four year absence it could make a return. He also expressed support for the fan organised Facebook Campaign to bring the Time Team crew together again to carry out a dig in memory of Aston who died on 24 June 2013.[18]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This figure includes all episodes and specials.

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Conlan, Tara (20 October 2012). "Channel 4 consigns Time Team to TV history". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ Channel 4 programme website (Retrieved 23 October 2007)
  3. ^ Jade Bremner, Tony Robinson on Walking Through History, Time Team and Blackadder, Radio Times, 28 March 2013
  4. ^ Time Team buried by C4, Balihar Khalsa, Broadcast, London, 22 October 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Time Team expert quits after show hires former model". Yahoo! TV news. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
    Mick Aston, The danger of losing touch with our history, Western Daily Press, 11 February 2012
  6. ^ "Tim Taylor. Farewell to Mick?". Scribd.com. 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  7. ^ "Time Team archaeologist Raksha Dave lectures in Leeds". BBC Leeds. 27 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "News: Time Team archaeologist joins Chester.". The Alumni Association - University of Chester. 3 March 2009. 
  9. ^ Commercial Development Unit. "Time Team - Codnor Castle And Other Digs | DVD | ABC Shop". Shop.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  10. ^ Commercial Development Unit (2012-03-09). "Time Team - Hooke Court and Other Digs | DVD | ABC Shop". Shop.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  11. ^ Commercial Development Unit (2010-12-17). "Time Team - Friar Wash & Other Digs | DVD | ABC Shop". Shop.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  12. ^ Commercial Development Unit (2011-10-15). "Time Team - Westminster Abbey and Other Digs | DVD | ABC Shop". Shop.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  13. ^ Commercial Development Unit. "Time Team - Tottiford and Other Digs | DVD | ABC Shop". Shop.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  14. ^ Commercial Development Unit. "Time Team Earl’s Colne Prioiry and Other Digs | DVD | ABC Shop". Shop.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ BBC News(Retrieved 12 July 2013)
  17. ^ English Heritage 2008. p. 17.
  18. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (2013-10-12). "Tony Robinson: I see no reason why Time Team can’t return". Radio Times. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 

Bibliography[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]