Time Team is a British television programme that originally aired on Channel 4 from 16 January 1994 to 7 September 2014. It returned online in 2022 for two episodes released on YouTube. 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 lay terms. The specialists changed throughout the programme's run, although it consistently included professional archaeologists such as Mick Aston, Carenza Lewis, Francis Pryor and Phil Harding. The sites excavated ranged in date from the Palaeolithic to the Second World War.
|Created by||Tim Taylor|
|Presented by||Tony Robinson (1994–2014)|
Gus Casely-Hayford (2022–)
Natalie Haynes (2022–)
Derek Pitman (2022–)
Helen Geake (2022–)
Guy de la Bédoyère
|Theme music composer||Paul Greedus|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||21|
|No. of episodes||286[a]|
|Executive producer||Tim Taylor|
|Running time||47 minutes[b]|
|Production company||VideoText Communications Ltd|
|Original network||Channel 4 (1994–2014)|
|Picture format||4:3 (1994–1999)|
16:9 (2000–2014, 2022)
|Original release||Original series:|
16 January 1994 –
7 September 2014
18 March 2022 – present
In October 2012, Channel 4 announced that the final series would be broadcast in 2013. Series 20 was screened from January–March 2013 and nine specials were screened between May 2013 and September 2014. In May 2021, Taylor announced the return of the series, with free episodes to be shown on YouTube. The first episodes of the new series began appearing on YouTube in 2022.
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. The site is frequently suggested by a member of the viewing public. Time Team uncover as much as they can of the archaeology and history of the site in three days.
Excavations are not just carried out to entertain viewers. Robinson claims that the archaeologists involved with Time Team have published more scientific papers on excavations carried out in the programme than all British university archaeology departments over the same period and that by 2013, the programme had become the biggest funder of field archaeology in the country.
A team of archaeologists, usually led by Mick Aston or Francis Pryor (the latter usually heading Bronze Age and Iron Age digs), including field archaeologist Phil Harding, congregate at a site, usually in Britain. The original Time Team line-up from 1994 has changed over the years. Historian and archivist Robin Bush was a regular in the first nine series, having been involved with the programme through his long friendship with Aston. Architectural historian Beric Morley featured in ten episodes between 1995 and 2002. In 2005, Carenza Lewis left to pursue other interests. She was replaced by Helen Geake, Anglo-Saxon specialist. The regular team also included: Stewart Ainsworth, landscape investigator; John Gater and Chris Gaffney, archaeological geophysicists; Henry Chapman, surveyor; and Victor Ambrus, illustrator.
The team was 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). Architectural historian Jonathan Foyle has appeared in episodes relating to excavations of country estates. Paul Blinkhorn (pottery), Mark Corney (coins), Carl Thorpe (pottery), and Jackie McKinley (bones) have appeared from time to time. Mick 'the dig' Worthington, an excavator in the early series, occasionally returned as a dendrochronologist, whereupon he was dubbed 'Mick the twig'. Osteoarcheologist Margaret Cox often assisted with forensic archaeology, mainly between 1998–2005. Other specialists who appeared from time to time include historian Bettany Hughes, archaeologist Gustav Milne, East of England specialist Ben Robinson, and David S. Neal, expert on Roman mosaics. Local historians also joined in when appropriate.
In February 2012, it was announced that Aston had left the show due to format changes. The disputed changes included hiring anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota as a co-presenter, dispensing with other archaeologists and what he thought were plans to "cut down the informative stuff about the archaeology". "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. 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".
Regular team members in later years included archaeologist Neil Holbrook, Roman coins specialist Philippa Walton, and historian Sam Newton. Younger members of Time Team who made regular appearances include: Jenni Butterworth, Raksha Dave, Kerry Ely, Brigid Gallagher, Rob Hedge, Katie Hirst, Alex Langlands, Cassie Newland, Ian Powlesland, Alice Roberts, Faye Simpson, Barney Sloane, Tracey Smith, and Matt Williams.
Time Team developed from an earlier Channel 4 programme, Time Signs, first broadcast in 1991. Produced by Taylor, Time Signs had featured Aston and Harding, who 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 (2002), whilst several spin-off books have been published. The programme features special episodes, often documentaries on history or archaeology and live episodes. The programme has been exported to 35 other countries.[c]Time Team America, a US version of the programme, was broadcast on PBS in 2009.[d]
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. Channel 4 stated that the programme would be shown, but without the re-enactment sequence. The episode, dedicated to Allen, was transmitted on 25 February 2008.
In 2012, Aston announced he was leaving the show after criticising format changes that focused less on archaeological activities. Channel 4 subsequently announced that the final Time Team series would be broadcast in 2013. Viewing figures had been in decline from 2.5 million in 2008 to 1.5 million in November 2011. The regular Time Team programme ended on 24 March 2013. Aston died unexpectedly on 24 June 2013.
In October 2013, Robinson said in an interview with Radio Times that he believed Time Team still had life in it and suggested that after a three- or four-year absence it could make a return. He also expressed support for a fan-organised Facebook campaign to bring the Time Team crew together again to carry out a dig in memory of Aston. The final Time Team special aired on 7 September 2014.
In December 2020, producer Tim Taylor announced that Time Team would begin airing episodes on a YouTube channel called "Time Team Classics". Taylor also announced the launch of the Time Team Patreon page, allowing fans to financially support efforts to revive the series. On 29 January 2021, the project exceeded its goal of 3,000 patrons.
On 17 May 2021, Taylor made an announcement on the return of the series, with episodes planned to air for free on the YouTube channel. Confirmed team members included Carenza Lewis, John Gater, Helen Geake, Stewart Ainsworth, Raysan Al-Kubaisi, Neil Emmanuel, Naomi Sewpaul, Matt Williams, Henry Chapman, Dani Wootton, Brigid Gallagher, Neil Holbrook, Suzannah Lipscomb, Jimmy Adcock, Natalie Haynes, Derek Pitman, Lawrence Shaw, Pete Spencer, and several returning production team members.
In September 2021, it was announced that Gus Casely-Hayford and Natalie Haynes would present the revived series.
Series 21 featured two three-part episodes, each covering a new dig conducted in 2021. The first of these episodes, which premiered between 18 and 20 March 2022, covered the excavation of an Iron Age settlement on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. The second episode premiered between 8 and 10 April 2022 and featured the excavation of a Roman villa in the grounds of Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire, discovered by metal detectorist and amateur archaeologist Keith Westcott in 2016.
The series' original theme music was composed by Paul Greedus.
The majority of the incidental tracks and main themes for many of the specials (Dinosaur Hunting in Montana, D-Day, The Big Dig etc) were composed by Steve Day.[better source needed]
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 Robinson and often feature one or more of the familiar faces from the regular programme 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 Robinson 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.
The Time Team website (editor Steve Platt) won a BAFTA for interactive entertainment (factual) in 2002.
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.
Complete series have been released in Australia starting with Series 15 in 2010. Since then, Series 12 (2014), Series 14 (2012), Series 16 (2010), Series 17 (2011), Series 18 (2012), Series 19 (2012) and Series 20 (2013) 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.
- Time Team America – the American version of the show
- ^ Including specials
- ^ Excluding advertisements
- ^ Time Team was 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 was produced by Taylor, the show's originator, with Robinson as associate producer.
- ^ Time Team America was co-produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Videotext/C4i.
- ^ a b c d Conlan, Tara (20 October 2012). "Channel 4 consigns Time Team to TV history". The Guardian.
- ^ a b c "Time Team assemble: Sites, team, and new dig watch". Exclusive news!. Time Team. 17 May 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- ^ Platt, Steve. "Tony Robinson interview". Channel 4. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
- ^ Bremner, Jade (28 March 2013). "Tony Robinson on Walking Through History, Time Team and Blackadder". Radio Times.
- ^ "Alzheimers ends glittering career for Linslade scholar". Leighton Buzzard Observer. 1 May 2008. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- ^ a b "IMDB Episodes cast for Time Team". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- ^ a b Arnold, Ben (8 February 2012). "Time Team expert quits after show hires former model". TV News. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- ^ Aston, Mick (11 February 2012). "The danger of losing touch with our history". Western Daily Press. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
- ^ Taylor, Tim (13 February 2012). "Farewell to Mick?". Scribd.com. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- ^ "Time Team archaeologist Raksha Dave lectures in Leeds". BBC Leeds. 27 July 2010.
- ^ "Time Team archaeologist joins Chester". University of Chester. 25 February 2009.
- ^ "Time Team behind the scenes secrets revealed in Oswestry". Shropshire Star. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
- ^ "New Time Team crew members hail from Bournemouth University". Bournemouth University. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
- ^ Norton, Andrew (31 May 2016). "Our New Man in Wales". Wessex Archaeology. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
- ^ Khalsa, Balihar (22 October 2012). "Time Team buried by C4". Broadcast. London. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- ^ "Fatal jousting accident man named". BBC News. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- ^ "Mick Aston, ex-Time Team expert, dies aged 66". BBC News. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
- ^ Lazarus, Susanna (12 October 2013). "Tony Robinson: I see no reason why Time Team can't return". Radio Times. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- ^ a b "Announcement". Time Team. 4 December 2020. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
- ^ "Announcement". Time Team. 29 January 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021 – via YouTube.
- ^ @thetimeteam (11 September 2021). "Official announcement! Meet Time Team's new presenters!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- ^ "Time Team - Time Team reveals trailer and new episode release dates". www.timeteamdigital.com. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
- ^ Brand new episode | Time Team – Dig One: Day One (Cornwall) Series 21, retrieved 19 March 2022
- ^ Brand new episode | Time Team – Dig One: Day Two (Cornwall) Series 21, retrieved 19 March 2022
- ^ Brand new episode | Time Team – Dig One: Day Three (Cornwall) Series 21, retrieved 21 March 2022
- ^ Brand new episode | Time Team – Dig Two: Day One (Oxfordshire) Series 21, retrieved 28 April 2022
- ^ Brand new episode | Time Team – Dig Two: Day Two (Oxfordshire) Series 21, retrieved 28 April 2022
- ^ Brand new episode | Time Team – Dig Two: Day Three (Oxfordshire) Series 21, retrieved 28 April 2022
- ^ "How a detectorist uncovered one of the largest Roman villas in Britain". inews.co.uk. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
- ^ "Paul Greedus". IMDb (Internet Movie Database). Amazon.com, Inc. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
- ^ "Steve Day". IMDb. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
- ^ "Interactive in 2002 | BAFTA Awards". BAFTA. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
- ^ "Research and Conservation Framework for the British Palaeolithic". English Heritage. 1 April 2008. p. 17. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- ^ "Codnor Castle and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 15. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- ^ "Chenies Manor House and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 12. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- ^ "Hookes Court and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 14. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 9 March 2012. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- ^ "Friars Wash & Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 16. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- ^ "Westminster Abbey and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 17. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 15 October 2011. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- ^ "Tottiford and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 18. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- ^ "Earl's Colne Prioiry and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 19. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- ^ "Dundrum Castle and Other Digs". ABC Shop (DVD). Time Team, series 20. ABC Commercial Development Unit. 2013. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013.
- "Research and Conservation Framework for the British Palaeolithic". English Heritage. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Current Archaeology magazine
- Ambrus, Victor & Aston, Mick (2001). Recreating the Past. Tempus.
- Aston, Mick (2002) . Mick's Archaeology (new ed.). Tempus.
- Gaffney, Chris & Gater, John (2003). Revealing the Buried Past: Geophysics for archaeologists. Tempus.
- Lewis, Carenza; Harding, Phil & Aston, Mick (2000). Taylor, Tim (ed.). Time Team's Timechester. Channel 4 Books.
- Pryor, Francis (2005). Flag Fen: Life and death of a prehistoric landscape. Tempus.
- Robinson, Tony & Aston, Mick (2002). Archaeology is Rubbish. Channel 4 Books.
- Taylor, Tim (1999). The Ultimate Time Team Companion: An alternative history of Britain. Macmillan.
- Taylor, Tim (2000). Behind the Scenes at Time Team. photographs by Bennett, Chris. Channel 4 Books.
- Taylor, Tim (2001). Digging the Dirt. Channel 4 Books.
- Taylor, Tim (2005). Time Team Guide to the Archaeological Sites of Britain and Ireland. Channel 4 Books.
- "Time Team". Channel 4.
- Time Team's channel on YouTube
- "Time Team Digital" (official site). April 2011. — contains latest news from digs
- Time Team at IMDb
- Interview with Brigid Gallagher, Time Team archaeologist (audio recording / radio interview). RadioLIVE. April 2010.
- "Time Team geophysics: from pits to palaces" – The Past, 1 February 2011