Blame Richard III. It was, we suspect, his much ballyhooed disinterment that got TV commissioners excited about archaeology again. But what ‘Stories from the Dark Earth’ illustrates is how tough it can be to make compelling telly out of it.
This opener to a four-part series sees Justin Richards returning to past discoveries from an earlier BBC series, and finding out that new scientific techniques have cast doubt on initial assumptions, beginning with a ‘decapitated burial’ in Winchester and a lady from the late-Roman era uncovered in London. New cultural complexities are revealed and Richards does his best to bring the whole thing to life, but it’s all a bit of a throwback and those without prior interest may find their attention wandering.
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