timeteam 20 years
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Ti me Te a m
Ti me Te a m The rise and fall of a television phenomenon I mages
In mid October an all-points bulletin was emailed to Time Team staff. It announced that after 20 seasons and over 230 episodes the programme was being axed by Channel 4. It was a perfunctory end for a television institution that, over two decades, made British archaeology more popular than ever. Here we reflect on a revolutionary format that aimed to bring archaeology to the people.
Twenty years is a long time in television. In the immediate aftermath of a programme’s cancellation, it is traditional to attempt a postmortem of what went wrong. But in this, as in so many other above The beginning of Time Team: season 1 stalwarts (from left to right) Mick Aston, Victor Ambrus, Phil Harding, Geraldine Barber, Carenza Lewis, Tony Robinson, and Robin Bush.
ways, Time Team bucks the trend. It is practically unheard of for a factual, specialist programme to spend two decades as the public face of its subject and to become a national institution along the way. While Time Team unquestionably experienced problems, particularly in its final years, this much-loved show was an astonishing success, propelling modern archaeology into the public consciousness as never before. As Francis Pryor observed on his blog, in many ways the real question is ‘what went right?’
current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk
January 2013 |