The Birth of Britain Television Programme Review

There have been several excellent television documentaries on the subject of geology and geography aired recently.  For example, the very well put together “Men of Rock” shown by the BBC on Thursday evenings.  This three-part television programme, highlighting the contribution to geology made by notable scientists such as Louis Agassiz and James Croll.  These programmes are narrated by Professor Iain Stewart, whose bubbly enthusiasm for his subject makes good television.  However, a quick note in praise of Tony Robinson who narrates the Channel Four documentary series “The Birth of Britain”.  In these three programmes Tony Robinson travels the length and breadth of the mainland of Great Britain highlighting the volcanic past of the United Kingdom, the effect of the Ice Ages on shaping the landscape and in the last programme, how gold and other precious metals are mined.

Whilst Tony Robinson cannot boast the academic credentials of a Professor Iain Stewart, he is equally enthusiastic and seems to genuinely enjoy explaining the clues left to our island’s past in its geology and geography.

To his credit, he keeps his enthusiasm even when getting soaked.  He seems to have spent half the filming time in a rain shower. We know how he feels, the trickle of water seeping into the boots, the discovery that your waterproofs are not quite as “waterproof” as they used to be – all good fun.

The United Kingdom has some wonderful landscapes and we have enjoyed watching these programmes even looking on enviously as Tony Robinson speaks into the camera in yet another rainstorm.

“The Birth of Britain” documentaries are being shown on Channel Four at 8pm Mondays, although let down by some poor animation, they are informative and show some of the most spectacular parts of the British Isles as well as revealing what evidence can be found in cities and in railway stations that show what happened in the past.

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