Tony Robinson “frustrated” by Time Team axe

Tony Robinson on Time TeamPresenter and actor Tony Robinson has said that the demise of long running archaeological series Time Team has left him “frustrated.” The series was axed by Channel 4 to make way for new series’ covering historic content.

Time Team, which began as a four-part special in 1991 entitled Timesigns, will end after twenty-one series and numerous specials. The 66-year-old host of the series told Radio Times magazine the axe had left him “a bit frustrated.”

Robinson noted however Channel 4, which screens the show, had “treated me pretty well.” including fronting a new series, Gods and Monsters. He adds however that “the series we’ve just made is one of the best”.

The show is exported to nearly forty countries and has regular repeats on Channel 4’s sister station More4. The programme had been criticised for a ‘youth-attracting’ revamp which harmed the series’ ratings as well as an ill-planned move from London to Cardiff in 2011 which saw virtually all the behind-the-scenes staff leave the programme.

Carly Hilts of noted, “Expertise honed over 15 years was lost at a stroke, to be replaced by crew and production staff who knew neither each other nor archaeology. Despite some great new people who learnt fast, expecting them to produce the same calibre of product immediately was just too big a demand.”

The programme also, in cost-cutting times, is a big investment for the broadcaster, costing up to £200,000 per-episode to create, expensive in factual documentary.

However the show has a strong legion of followers, many who take part in their own historic hobbies, and believe the programme – if produced in its most popular format – could once again remain a fixture in the Channel 4 schedules with new episodes for another two decades at least. A petition to keep the series on air has almost 3,000 signatures so far and backing from celebrities such as Only Fools And Horses actor John Challis.

Channel 4 have stated while Time Team will no longer air as a series there will be future specials running through 2014, and possibly beyond. The petition can be signed here.

[Reported by Neil Lang]