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OU on the BBC: Romans in Britain - On-screen team

Updated Tuesday, 1st August 2006

Find out more about presenter Guy de la Bédoyère and the other experts making up the on-screen team.

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Roman soldiers Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

Guy at Hadrian's Wall

For historian Guy de la Bédoyère 'The Romans in Britain' is his first big television series as a presenter, and an opportunity to share his passion for the Romans with a large audience. For viewers on BBC TWO the series will be the chance to get to know a distinctive new personality, as he guides them across Britain on his motorcycle, and tells the story of the Roman occupation and its lasting impact.

Guy's background is unusual: he's made his name as a respected historian and writer without following the conventional path of an academic career within a University. He's written more than a dozen books in the last twelve years, covering not just Roman Britain but the correspondence of England's most celebrated diarist, Samuel Pepys. Last year he solved a Roman conundrum which made the national press, and he writes regular travel pieces for the Independent newspaper.

Besides being a prolific writer, Guy's also a family man with four sons who plays the piano and is a collector of antiques and anything unusual. He rebuilt from scratch the 21-year-old classic motorcycle he rides in the series, and is passionately interested in Second World War aircraft and American history and culture. He has also taken part in four editions of Channel 4's popular archaeology show 'Time Team'. 'The Romans in Britain' is carried by Guy's conviction that history shouldn't ever be stuffy or inaccessible: a natural story-teller, he shares with the audience his own genuine curiosity about the past. He brings to bear his own specialist knowledge of the period to provide a compelling and sometimes controversial personal history.

His publications include:
The Finds of Roman Britain, Batsford, London 1988
The Buildings of Roman Britain, Batsford London 1991
The Towns of Roman Britain, Batsford/English Heritage 1992
Roman Villas and the Countryside, Batsford/English Heritage 1993
Particular Friends: The Correspondence of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, Boydel and Brewer, Woodbridge 1997
Hadrian's Wall: a History and Guide, Tempus 1998
The Golden Age: the Fourth Century in Roman Britain, Tempus 1999

Eugene Fraser

EUGENE FRASER is a Polynesian, born in Fiji and educated in Auckland University in New Zealand. An interest in the theatre brought him to Britain in 1967, where he joined the BBC as an announcer/newsreader. His voice became familiar to Radio 4 listeners where he worked for many years. He is now the Education Director at Butser Ancient Farm, where he has developed his specialist interest in the history and culture of the Celts. His other interests are literature, music and history. He lives in Petersfield with his wife and three children, all of whom are at University.

Martin Millet

MARTIN MILLETT was a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham at the time of filming. He has now moved to Southampton University. He has been involved in fieldwork in Britain, Spain, Portugal and Italy, and is currently working on a project in East Yorkshire which is featured in the programme 'Fact and Fable'. The project here is looking at the impact of the Roman road and fort on the existing Iron Age settlement, and at how people in these periods made a living. Modern archaeology involves far more than just digging holes, and excavation is just one of an array of techniques being used here: aerial photography, geophysical surveying, and field walking are also being employed.

Martin has written a book about Western Europe in the Roman Period, published in 2000. Two of his recent books have been very influential in debates about the impact of the Romans on Britain. They are:

The Romanisation of Britain, Cambridge University Press 1990
The English Heritage Book of Roman Britain, Batsford 1995

Simon James

SIMON JAMES is an archaeologist with interests in the later Iron Age of western Europe, and the Roman Empire. He has specialised in Roman military studies, particularly in arms and armour, and recently has been studying the history of thinking about the Roman army.

His recent books include:
Exploring the World of the Celts, Thames and Hudson, London 1993
Britain and the Celtic Iron Age (co-authors S J and Valery Rigby), British Museum Press, London 1997


mosaic Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

Gustav Milne

GUSTAV MILNE has worked for the Museum of London since 1973. He took part in "rescue" excavations in City of London between 1973-1993, which included the Roman harbour and the Roman basilica. He is now a lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London. He has also been the Director of the Thames Archaeological Survey since 1995.

His publications include:
Port of Roman London, Batsford, 1985
From Roman Basilica to the Medieval Marker, HMSO, 1992
Roman London, Batsford, 1995

Sally Grainger

SALLY GRAINGER is a chef of many years experience, who fairly recently took a degree in Classics and combined her interest in food and ancient history to become a food historian.

Along with a colleague, she wrote 'The Classical Cookbook', published by the British Museum Press in 1996, and recently released completed 'Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today'.

Several of her recipes were featured in the programme 'Coming of Age', including an olive relish dating from about 150 BC, a salmon stuffed with bay leaves and fennel and wrapped in vine leaves to cook, and a whole roast lamb, basted with a mixture of coriander seed, honey, pepper and wine.

David Rudkin

DAVID RUDKIN has been the Director at Fishbourne Roman Palace since 1979 and is co-director of the current campaign of Sussex Archaeological Society excavations immediately to the east of the Palace. Prior to this he was keeper of Archaeology for the Portsmouth City Museums. A colleague of David's at Fishbourne has recently completed a book all about Roman gardening, which brings together what they have learned from their research work at the palace:

'Roman Gardens and their Plants' by Claire Riley, The Sussex Archaeological Society, 1998

Stewart Ainsworth

STEWART AINSWORTH has been an archaeological investigator and landscape archaeologist, firstly with the Ordnance Survey, and latterly with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. He is now based in York, where he leads a team of Royal Commission investigators surveying archaeological sites and landscapes. Their work supports the National Monuments Record and helps to provide interpretation and analysis for other heritage bodies such as English Heritage, The National Trust, and Local Authorities.

He has made regular appearances on Channel Four's 'Time Team' and has written many journal articles. He has also co-edited a book containing essays on interpreting archaeological landscapes.

Gerald Brodribb

GERALD BRODRIBB has spent most of his career in education, both as a schoolmaster and Headteacher. In later life he became interested in archaeology and as an enthusiastic amateur discovered the Roman industrial site at Beauport Park in 1970. He wrote his first book, 'Roman Brick and Tile', in 1987. He visits local schools to give pupils a 'hands on' experience with bits of pot and tile. He is also interested in cricket, and has written some twenty five publications connected with the game.


Roman baths at Bath Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

Lindsay Allason-Jones

LINDSAY ALLASON-JONES runs the Museum of Antiquities at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work includes teaching archaeology undergraduates as well as postgraduates in the University's Museum Studies course. She is also Honorary Keeper of the Clayton Collection, as well as a Trustee of the Senhouse Roman Museum at Maryport and Corbridge Excavation Committee.

Her research is largely based on small finds, both Roman and Nubian, together with her interest in the role of Roman women about which she has written extensively. Her recent research interests have been concentrated on jet and shale artefacts from Roman sites in Britain and the Roman objects found during the excavation of Meriotic sites in the Sudan.

Lindsay is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and of the Museums Association, and a member of the Institute of Field Archaeologists.

Her publications include:
Catalogue of Small Finds from South Shields Roman Fort, (with R.F. Miket), 1984
Coventina's Well: a Shrine on Hadrian's Wall (with B. McKay), 1985
Excavations at Roman Corbridge:The Hoard (with B. Mckay), 1988
Ear-rings in Roman Britain, 1989
Women in Roman Britain, 1989
Roman Jet in the Yorkshire Museum, 1996

Bill Griffiths

BILL GRIFFITHS is an Archaeology Projects Officer for the Tyne and Wear Museums. He specialised in the Roman Military at the University of Essex, which directed him towards Hadrian's Wall. He worked in Yorkshire for three years, before moving to work on the Wall. His time has been divided between Wallsend, South Shields and Chesters. He was involved in overseeing the re-development of Segundum, (as Wallsend was known to the Romans) which re-opened to the public in the summer of 2000. He is also the editor of the Arbeia Journal.

Robin Birley

ROBIN BIRLEY is an ex Royal Marine, ex teacher and archaeologist who has spent most of his life on Hadrian's Wall. It still holds a total fascination for him, with excavations continuing to take place. Vindolanda has become very much a family affair, in more ways than one. His father, Professor Eric Birley, founded the Vindolanda Trust in the 1930s, and the Chesterholm Museum at Vindolanda was once his family home. Robin left teaching to run the Trust, and his wife and his son - who is also an archaeologist - are involved with him in the work at Vindolanda.

Robin is a prolific writer. His books include Garrison Life on the Roman Frontier, Hadrian's Wall - A Personal Guide and The Best of Hadrian's Wall.

Jim Crow

JIM CROW (also known as Dr James Crow) is a lecturer in Roman archaeology at Newcastle University. Between 1982 and 1989 he directed major excavations along Hadrian's Wall for English Heritage and the National Trust. Recently, he has been leading a project looking at the Roman fort at High Rochester, as well as field work in north-west Turkey.

He is author of The English Heritage Book of Housesteads, Batsford, 1995.

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