Past Times With Professor Alice Roberts
Professor Alice Roberts tours the UK with her new show where she’ll be sharing stories from her exploration of Britain’s past. She tells T&L more…
You may recognise Alice Roberts from the numerous programmes she appears in on the television – from the hugely popular Coast and Digging For Britain to Time Team, the academic and writer is well known in the field for her medical, historical and archaeological expertise.
Her career spans over 20 years and in her new UK tour – Digging Into Britain’s Past, she looks to give a personal insight into her exploration of the country and all that she has discovered over that time.
Tell us about your new tour – how was the idea conceived?
I’m thinking about writing a new book on British archaeology, including personal insights from some of the sites I’ve worked on and visited over the years – and as I started to go back through my archives it struck me that I could take some of this content and tell a great wide sweeping story about British history and prehistory – though the lens of archaeology, and with a really personal take on it. I’ll be showing lots of clips and sharing lots of anecdotes as well as exploring key moments in British history.
Are you looking forward to it?
Absolutely! I love doing live shows and having the opportunity to answer questions and chat to the audience afterwards too. I’ll be book signing after the shows which is more opportunity for those conversations.
Would your show appeal to people who aren’t necessarily into archaeology and history?
Yes, I think so. Ultimately this is all about people – our own ancestors in Britain. We can explore their cultures and beliefs, and it’s also a story about the British landscape through time. There will be plenty of anecdotes from my filming adventures as well!
Was it difficult narrowing down all the different excerpts and stories as you must have so many to choose from…
I’m still narrowing it all down! I have enough material for a ten-hour talk but I will squeeze it into two!
What has been one of the highlights of your career?
Meeting people from indigenous, hunter-gathering communities in Africa, and living with reindeer herders in Siberia.
Why do you think it is so important to understand our past?
It gives us context – it’s part of how we create an identity. I think it also puts challenges we’re facing as a society into context, too.
You’ve recently presented the Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution in London – how did that go?
Really well – the live shows were great fun and the films were shown on BBC Four. There was lots of action – with a horse, a bat, an armadillo, parkour athletes and a gorilla in the theatre!
Do you have any exciting projects coming up for the new year?
My big news is that a brand new series of Britain’s Most Historic Towns will be airing on C4 in the spring. Six new towns – including Bristol, Dover and Stirling!
Do you get a chance to relax?
I love being outdoors – so relaxing for me involves a long walk with my kids, up a hill or along a coast path. And in the summer we head off on kayaking trips – which is the most relaxing, peaceful thing imaginable.