Campaigners say BBC could show Time Team special as calls grow for Mick Aston tribute

By Ben Miller | 26 November 2014

Campaigners ponder BBC approach as petition for Channel 4 archaeology special nears 7,000-signature mark

A photo of an ancient black wood boat in a quarry
Flag Fen, the prehistoric Peterborough site where Time Team's John Gator did some of his best work. The archaeologist has added his voice to a campaign in honour of former colleague Mick Aston© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
Archaeology fans campaigning for a one-off television programme in tribute to Mick Aston, the revered late Time Team expert, say they are closing in on 7,000 supporters and are “100 percent” confident of securing a deal for their dig by popular demand.

Two fellow favourites from the show - John Gator, the pioneering geophysicist, and Francis Pryor, who played an important part in the discovery of the Bronze Age Flag Fen site in Cambridgeshire – have added their support to the increasingly persuasive petition.

“The more the petition grows the more people are talking about the campaign being a success,” says Lee Brady, who has been encouraged by thousands more backers on a dedicated Facebook page.

“As soon as it hits 7,000 signatures I will be sending out the printed petition to Channel 4 and to a number of other broadcast channels.

“If Channel 4 are not interested then I am 100 percent sure another channel will snap at the chance to run a special dig in Mick Aston's memory.

“Maybe we can start knocking on the BBC’s door. There are a lot of fans who have been pushing me to try to contact the BBC as they love all things history.

“It would be ideal for them and I think because of the tribute it would be a massive success. It would then be Channel 4's loss.”

Commenting on Culture24, supporters from around the world called for the programme to be commissioned.

“Mick Aston's 'mad professor' image was an endearing quality to a lot of us and he is sorely missed,” wrote Roy Harris, from Dudley.

“A one-off dig in his memory would be a fitting tribute to this lovely, if slightly eccentric man.

“Come on Channel 4, honour his memory.”

Elizabeth, from Suffolk, echoed a call for Aston to be awarded a posthumous knighthood.

“Channel 4 – for so many reasons, not least of which was the huge additional audience you captured because of him, just give him a dig,” she implored.

“Again, think of the audience you'll get for doing this good thing…it is the right thing to do.”

Alison, from Brisbane, said Time Team was “a must-see programme” when it was shown on the other side of the world.

“Please do a special tribute to this man who introduced many of us to archeology and gave us an appreciation of the history of Britain,” she wrote.

“He informed us in everyday language, not boring, lecture type language.”

Her fellow Australian, Christine Mclachlan, from Queensland, said authorities should “honour this outstanding man”, while Ray Hainsworth, from Toronto, called Aston “instrumental in bringing British archaeology to a mass audience.”

“He certainly inspired my interest,” he added.

“He was late arriving on TV in Canada. But once here, he won our hearts and minds with his down-to-earth approach to professional archaeology.”


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More from Culture24's coverage of the campaign:

Thousands back petition to bring back Time Team in honour of archaeologist Mick Aston

Campaigners call on Channel 4 to create Time Team special for archaeologist Mick Aston
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Come on BBC pick up the dropped baton and make Time Team a hit BBC program for the next ten years.
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