In Indiana Jones, archaeologists are portrayed as heavily armed treasure hunters who’ll stop at nothing to uncover a rare artifact. Channel 4’s Time Team provides us with a more realistic view of archaeology that involves less explosions but no lack of excitement. Blackadder funny man, Tony Robinson has been fronting the documentary series for the last 20 years and neither he, nor his audience are showing any signs of fatigue. Athena Learning’s new DVD release of Time Team: The Team’s Favorite Digs, features eight intriguing episodes that were handpicked by the cast and crew.
Unlike Indiana Jones, Tony Robinson’s group sometimes come home empty-handed. Once or twice, they even get led up the garden path by hoaxers who plant historic relics in their backyard’s. In this DVD set, we get to see Tony’s team cleverly expose one such scam. The items they found are genuine enough but all of them have been removed from their original surroundings and buried in the grounds of a manor home. You could tell that something was amiss when the owner refused to do the standard introductory interview. The episode concludes with a Poirot-like analysis in which Tony lays out the mechanics of the hoax. It makes for entertaining — if somewhat uncomfortable viewing.
The other investigations in this disc set are more conventional. We see the team risking life and limb as they abseil to a windswept island. We see an emotional war veteran uncovering evidence related to his step-brother’s death. We also see egos being checked and hair ripped out as the opinionated experts battle one another and the weather before their three day timeline expires.
Last year, Athena released Time Team’s Roman Invasion. That DVD set was very good but this one is more reflective of the show as a whole as the team uncover a variety of artifacts from different eras of history. Tony’s gradually thinning hair reflects the fact that these episodes were plucked from different points in the show’s two decade history. As an avid viewer of the show, I have to say that they’ve done a very good job selecting some of the very best episodes. The line-up is as follows:
Llygadwy, Wales (Mick’s Choice), Gateholm (Francis’s Choice), Wierre-Effroy (Tony’s Choice), BONUS EPISODE: Wedmore, Turkdean (John’s Choice), Braemore (Helen’s Choice), High Worsall (Stewart’s Choice), BONUS EPISODE: Turkdean Revisited, Nevis, West Indies—Part 1 (Victor’s Choice), Cirencester (Carenza’s Choice), Nevis, West Indies—Part 2
The three-disc set has a total running time of 407 minutes. It’s yours to own for just $59.99.