Channel 4 Cancels Time Team

In last week’s edition of Radio Times (March 23rd-29th), I was extremely saddened to read that Channel 4 has scrapped their excellent and popular archaeology series, Time Team, which has graced UK television screens for the past twenty years.

As a big fan of archaeology and history, this news has come as a huge disappointment to me. Time Team is one of my favourite programmes on UK television, and over the years has helped to popularize and animate archaeology and history for the general viewing public. It is both educational AND entertaining, something which is greatly lacking in most television scheduling these days. So to find out that Time Team is being dumped by Channel 4, frankly, sucks Big Time.

Some people would say that twenty years is a good run, but the show is always fresh and entertaining, and getting better, year by year. So why cancel it and replace it with yet another piece of mindless crap that we don’t need? Yet another bloody programme about cooking (isn’t obesity rampant enough already?), buying houses, auctioning, or whatever other cheap, boring fad that the TV channels are obsessed with riding into the ground? As soon as one of these programmes achieves a certain level of success, multiple clones inevitably sprout up all over the place, like weeds. There’s already far too much of this rubbish on TV. We don’t need any more.

I’m one of those viewers who prefers to watch programming that’s a bit more educational and informative, dealing with subjects such as science, history, and current affairs, rather than the endless parade of mindless, vacuous reality TV, soaps and sitcoms that the television channels constantly force down our throats. But hey, I’m all for a bit of variety, and I’m well aware that a large section of the population actually LIKES reality TV, soaps and sitcoms (God help us all). I can’t stand this kind of thing myself, but I am more than willing to compromise, just as long as there’s also something on TV occasionally for me.

Television channels should cater for everybody, minority tastes as well as more mainstream, popular viewing. But the sad fact is, in recent years they have done so less and less. There is little left on commercial television for the more discerning viewer, and we have so much cheap, unimaginative, unintelligent copy-cat programming infesting our television screens that I’m often driven to despair, trying to find something that’s actually worth watching. We may have a lot more television channels these days, but they are full of complete rubbish and endless repeats. The quality of television viewing has definitely declined over the years, and we can ill afford to lose a great series like Time Team.

Just by coincidence, my late Thursday night viewing this week included a 20 Years of Time Team special on Channel 4. Apparently this, according to the Radio Times, is the VERY LAST programme in the series, so I’m absolutely gutted. I’m sure that Time Team repeats will abound in future, but we really need new programmes in this excellent series. If tired, boring soaps like Eastenders, Emmerdale and Coronation Street can rattle on endlessly for decade after decade, why can’t something as interesting as Time Team? The series deserves at least another twenty years, if you ask me.

Next time I partake of the demon drink, I’ll raise a glass to Tony, Phil, Mike, Carenza and the rest of the Time Team crew, and pray that this isn’t the last we’ll see of this talented bunch and their herculean efforts to make archaeology fun and accessible to the man and woman in the street. RIP Time Team, but I hope it’s not for long.

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3 thoughts on “Channel 4 Cancels Time Team

  1. Pingback: 100 billion potential Earth-like planets in Milky Way Galaxy - Page 3

  2. I have had a good think about this after talking to you on the phone.

    The cancellation of Time Team is really annoying. It was interesting and educational. Also being a lover of history, I learned quite a bit from it.

    I will miss that show.

    I have noticed the gradual and insidious dumbing down of television and the programs being broadcast over the last two decades, which appears to be happening at an accelerating rate.

    I remember programs such as Horizon and Tomorrows World on BBC. I loved those programs. They were fascinating and engaging. Horizon was a program that I made a point of watching every week on its 8pm slot.

    Years ago the Open University used to broadcast on BBC. Those programs were brilliant for anyone wanting to self teach themselves something new.

    Now the TV seems to be full of inane gibberish from reality shows to house selling shows, through cookery programs and discussion shows that seem to be full of imbeciles.

    Last year I cancelled my cable TV subscription as I just got fed up with it.

    TV and some sections of society do appear to be following the course taken in the film Idiocracy.

    Alas, i have been building a very large DVD and Bluray collection to complement my book collection.

    I think I have reached the point where the TV is for films with a few friends and some food. I have no more use for it anymore, now that the Television has turned into a race towards the most inane.

    • Andrea, you already know my views on the subject, and my blog post mentioned a few of them.

      Basically, I agree with pretty much everything you say. Your policy of building up a huge DVD/Blu-ray collection of classic films and TV series is a good one. With a collection like that, TV is superfluous, useful only for news and current affairs and the occasional topical documentary.

      You dumped your cable subscription, and I only have a basic Freeview box, with no intention of upgrading to Sky or Virgin for the television (I’m definitely interested in the faster broadband, though). Why pay hard-earned cash to get 150 or more channels full of mindless garbage?

      I’ve been complaining loudly about this dumbing down of media and mainstream audiences for years now. You’ve heard me go on and on at length about how the television, cinema and book reading audiences have been getting dumber and dumber in recent years, and how mainstream media is actually relishing and encouraging this change.

      There’s no need to spend millions of pounds creating expensive sci-fi series or documentary shows like Time Team, when they can produce a non-stop stream of dirt cheap reality TV, full of uninteresting, irrelevant idiots who will work for nothing but their fifteen minutes of fame.

      And then feed this crap to the brain-dead mainstream television audiences who just seem to sit glassy-eyed in front of the TV, loving this garbage. Heaven forbid that they should have to watch something that actually taxes their brains and makes them THINK. It’s too much like hard work for most of them.

      And the governments, even in so-called sophisticated western societies, who should be stepping in to address these problems, forcing the TV companies to provide us with entertaining, educational and widely varied television programs, are instead totally behind this dumbing down process.

      A population that thinks too much is dangerous, and will vote you out at the next election. Keep them dumb and docile, feed them a diet of spin and mindless crap to keep them happy, and they won’t give you any problems at the ballot box. You can even tell them who to vote for (you, of course) and they’ll believe everything you say, because their ability to think critically has been eroded to almost nothing. If you can keep a majority of the population like this, it doesn’t matter about the much smaller group of more intelligent, free thinking people in society. They’re in a small minority, and can safely be ignored.

      The Romans used to do it, keeping the “mob” happy with the “bread and circuses” in the amphitheater. Modern governments do it much more effectively through television, the most effective mass brainwashing mechanism ever invented. Television has been described as “the opium of the masses”. A most accurate description, if you ask me.

      The government, in the guise of the BBC, still charge us a hefty annual fee for a TV licence. They don’t deserve to get a penny.

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