The official website of Julian Richards, archaeologist, broadcaster and writer
Television and Radio

After several years of being asked if I was going to be doing any more TV programmes and having to reply no, it’s good to be able to report that a new series for BBC 4. Entitled ‘Stories from the Dark Earth - Meet the Ancestors- revisited’ starts on May 1st 2013. Each of the four one hour programmes takes two of the original Meet the Ancestors discoveries, two Neolithic sites, two Iron Age, two Roman and two ‘Dark Age’. In each programme it’s a case of seeing what has happened to the site and the discoveries over the last 10-12 years (yes it’s that long since the original series) as well as investigating how our perceptions of those periods have changed in this time. So there a bigger picture to be painted rather than just the updated stories of the individual sites.

It was huge fun making the programmes, travelling from Orkney to East Anglia, Yorkshire and the Cotswolds as well as closer to home in Dorset and Winchester. I have enjoyed meeting up with the archaeologists and specialists that we worked with before, comparing how their work has changed and how much older we all look! Some organisations, like the Winchester Archaeological Unit, have disappeared in this time, a sad indication of the impact of the economic downturn on the heritage industry. And Bill White, the gentle but hugely knowledgeable human bone specialist from the Museum of London Unit, is sadly with us no more.

‘The results are fascinating, and it’s good to see that Richards is as engaging as ever’
Guardian TV Guide 1st May.

In the meantime don’t forget the back catalogue...these are just the series and some of the major one off programmes

• Meet the Ancestors BBC 2 1998 – 2004
• Blood of the Vikings BBC 2 20000
• Timewatch - Hadrians Wall BBC 2007
• Building Wonders’ HTV 2008

• Mapping the Town Radio 4 1999 – 2005
• Digging for Britain (yes we used the title before it was nabbed for BBC2) Radio 4 2006
• Men of Stone Radio 4 2007

An interesting diversion in 2011 was to take another group of American visitors around Stonehenge. In 2008 I played host to the ‘boys’ from the TV series ‘American Chopper’ (see photo) a friendly but scary bunch who arrived cynical but left impressed by the engineering skills of the Stonehenge builders. 

This time it was the stars of another US reality TV show, the family from ’19 kids and counting’ who made quite a contrast to the sweary tattooed bikers from ‘American Chopper’. 

The family really do have 19 kids (at the last count) which with parents, one grandparent, a young wife of one of the older boys and a grandchild made quite a crowd (see the other photo). I hope that they enjoyed their brief visit during which we did not discuss evolution.

Even more bizarre was being involved in the publicity for the animated film ‘The Croods’ in March 2013. This involved being at Stonehenge at 6.00 on a frosty morning with a large polystyrene sign and a furry creature called ‘Belt’. Having seen the film I now understand the name.

There are some other TV ideas in the pipeline. Watch this space