On the making of a TV programme
The Society began its thirteenth season, on 1th January 2011 with a talk by Suffolk archaecologist, Jo Caruth, on the making of a TV programme. The programme(s) in question were part of the Time Flyers series based upon various sites in the British isles and Jo told us something about all of them. The talk was illustrated throughout with slides and there were some striking aerial shots. Competing objectives had to be reconciled. For example the programme producers would often want to view a dig from different angles whereas the archaeological team would want to get the stuff out of the ground and move on. This point was well illustrated by the episode known as the clash of the clans in which the stronghold of the Clan Morrison – a 16th century fort at Dun Eisdean in the Highlands – was held under siege by the MacLeods. The archaeologist’s main purpose was to find out all they could about the fort but the TV producers were more concerned about how the residents made their escape; in this particular case they met a gruesome end as they were beheaded as they left by the single small doorway. Other sites included in the series were the Avebury Stone Circles and the wonderful mosaics at the roman villa in Bradford on Avon.
Jo also described the vast amount of preparation which went into the making of each programme – the working-out of interviews, timing of shots, scheduling of extremely expensive helicopter work, scripting etc.Inevitably there was always some “waiting around” On the other hand there was the excitement of real discovery (as Jo put it no one is going to make a programme about two ditches and a pole hole!); there was the opportunity to meet other archaeological experts, the visits to some beautiful locations and the helicopter rides. The experience apparently had its fun side too with the dressing up in period costume, fighting off some aggressive terns and the pub excursions. This was a most enjoyable talk by someone who knows her subject thoroughly and was able to deliver it in a very entertaining way. On behalf of 19 members present, Chairman Alan Fitch thanked Miss Caruth.
Next meeting – Tuesday February 8th 8pm in Foxearth Village Hall when there will be a talk about Queen Elizabeth 1 in Suffolk.