Monday, 2 February 2015


I confess that January is not my favourite month. I have nothing against the first four and a half weeks of the year per se, it's just that, for a variety of reasons, it's not there at the top of my monthly pick of the pops.

January seems extraordinarily (and at times unnecessarily) LONG especially with regard to cash-flow (being paid just before Christmas then nothing for a whole 6 weeks, in between which, of course, lies the most expensive holiday of the year, doesn't help). When it finally arrives, January 31st brings a (very) large overdraft statement outlining what appears to be a big slab of Eurozone-style debt. January also seems extraordinarily (and unnecessarily) grey, a fact increased because, once the excitement of Christmas itself is over, decorations and lights come down on January 6th (to be boxed back into the Russell archive) leaving nothing but harsh desolate winter...and the cold...and the wet....and that feeling that it's 'back to school'.

It's not January's fault of course, and it does try its best to be liked, with a big fanfare, party and firework display at the very start, but Februrary is leaner, shorter and gets (progressively) lighter and though it sometimes brings snow, ice and yet more rain, with February you feel that spring is on it's way and the world is trying its best to wake up.

When February arrives we know it's time to dust off the trowel and wipe clean the mattock for the urge to move soil is nearly upon us.

Februrary is further improved, at least for those of us living in this obscure little island in the nebulous outer seas of planet Earth, by the arrival the spring TV schedule, once the post Xmas listings manage to rise from sluggish stupor. New TV schedules bring new drama, new documentaries and, if all goes to plan, brand new archaeo-historic programming.

This February looks to be no different.

Hot off the TV 'press' this year is the BBC's new series of Digging for Britain, the televisual equivalent of Springwatch / Winterwatch / Autumnwatch, the magazine programme for wildlife enthusiasts (who clamour to see animal and plant life thriving and struggling in equal measure). Digging for Britain is the chance to see what is going on in British archaeological world - the opportunity to see people moving spoil and making discoveries back when the sun was out and the weather was altogether better.

It is the closest we will ever get to a fully fledged Digwatch (and why not Digwatch? Come to think of it, that's an excellent idea - one I happily surrender all copyright claim to in the hope it one day gets made).

I love Digging for Britain (and not just because series 3 will feature more of the Durotriges Project - episode 2 if you really want to know), but because it makes me feel that the excavation season is truly on it's way. Scheduling the programme in February will, I hope, help to put winter on hold, if only for just a few brief moments. It brings light. It brings finds. It brings hope.


OK so maybe I'm being somewhat overenthusiastic (it has been known to happen), but it's been a long winter - could we have spring now please?


Oh and confirmation that Digwatch has been commissioned too...?


  1. Isn't the new series of Digging for Britain presented in a very Spring / Digwatch way? Presenters on the sofa chatting and engaging in banter? Looks like your idea's been nicked!

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    2. Curses! You're right - should've copyrighted that sign of Bill Oddie (though he has appeared in Time Team before I think), Kate Humble (ditto Time Team Specials), Chris Packham or Michaela Strachan yet. It's a good format though - I hope Digging for Britain (or D4B) gets another series.

    3. Too true. Digging for Britain needs another series and a better tv slot. I like bbc4 but no one seems to watch it. Anything on bbc2 for instance gets an additional 3 million viewers. Can we start a petition?

  2. DBD @ D4B OMG LOL