Sketches Get Out Of The Trench, Tony!

Archaelogical dig This rather silly spoof was inspired by, and indeed celebrates, the wonderful quirkiness of the popular Sunday teatime archaeology programme, Time Team, which is broadcast sporadically on Channel 4.

It stars...

Act One:

<Manic, dramatic drumming music. Camera focused on mud hill. Tony leaps in front and starts talking really enthusiastically waving his arms about etc.>

Tony: We're here! In the heart of the Gloustershire cheesemaking industry. <holds up a rock> In 1903 farmer Briggs stumbled upon this ancient <pause as he struggles for the word> ...rock! We've got just three days to uncover the mystery of whether this field was an ancient burial site, or... er... or not!

<Tony turns and strides across the field. Cut to: The Time Team (Mick, Phil, Carenza, Robin, Stewart) gathered, arguing in a huddle>

Carenza: Don't be ridiculous!

Mick: I'm not! Gah!

Tony: <Barging into the frame, out of breath after running> So Mick, what's the plan?

Mick: Hello Tony. We're just waiting for the results of the geophys.

Stewart: Look Mick, I've told you, I've got a feeling deep in the pit of my stomach about this ditch here, I say we just go for it!

<Geophys John enters with zimmerframe>

Mick: Ah! John! What are the results?

John: Just printing them out... <beeping noises. John picks up sheet of incomprehensible black and grey squares and holds it up> Well, you can see this area of high resistance here, but here quite clearly you can see this anomaly stretching down and curving round like so.

Everyone: Mmmm.

John: I'm a bit confused about this area here... but I think we have a ferris spike here. Either that or a pipe.

Tony: I'm confused!

Mick: <Oblivious to Tony> I think we should get trench one under way.

Phil: Oo-aarr! Let's go!

<Everyone walks off in different directions. Cut to: Tony at trench one with Phil, Carenza and two students>

Tony: We've got trench one under way, and Phil says we've already made an interesting discovery.

Phil: <Swings pick axe - clunking noise> Oo-arr, just listen to that! Innit beautiful!

Tony: Well there you go! Lets see what's happening in the incident room! <runs off>

<Incident room. Huddle of people around a computer. Robin standing around for no reason>

Tony: Steve here is planning to create an intricately detailed 3D textured map of the site. What have you got so far Steve?

<shot of computer with one line across the screen>

Tony: Great!

<Tony runs off. Shot of John walking across a field with single geophys thing. Shot of Tony running across to trench one. Scraping noises>

Tony: I can see Victor here, our resident artist, scribbling away attempting to recreate the landscape as it would have looked years ago. Can we see so far, Victor?

Victor: No.

Tony: Oh.

<Phil stands up and everyone gathers round>

Phil: Oo-arr! Just look at that! What do you think about that Tony?

Tony: What is it? What is it?

Phil: Its a biro! <Holds up biro>

Carenza: We've got to send this off to the Birochronologist for research.

Tony: I'm confused.

Phil: <Laughs> Warrgh! Tony! Oo-arr! Look at that! I've found the lid!

<Cheers from surrounding people. Mick enters>

Mick: Tony, I'm going to go up in the helicopter to get an arial view of the earthworks now.

Tony: Can I come?!

Mick: No.

Tony: <To camera> Well, while all this hectic activity is going on, Stewart is going to recreate the process of biro assembling as it was done in the late 1970s.

Stewart: Tony, I don't want to do it.

Tony: Stewart!

Stewart: No! I want to dig this trench!

Tony: But! B-! Gahhh! who are we going to get to do it?!!

Phil: <appears next to Tony> Does it involve horse manure?

Tony: Er... yeah!

Phil: Does it involve bellows?

Tony: Er... yeah!

Phil: I'll do it Tony!

<Everyone walks off. Cut to: night-time. Time Team stood round campfire holding wine glasses. Tony walks on holding bottle>

Tony: <Takes swig out of bottle> Its the end of day one and what a day its been. I don't think we've ever had such a good first day on Time Team. Mick, how's it going?

Mick: Well Tony we're going to have to put in another trench.

Phil: Hooray!

Tony: So there you have it. Will we discover the ancient mysteries of the Gloustershire cheese making land? We'll be back after the break! <Abruptly strides off. Robin falls over>

<Morning. Shot of Tony walking slowly across a field looking bleary. Walks straight through trench one eating piece of toast>

Tony: It's day two and I'm going to talk to Mick now. Mick!

Mick: <Emerges out of trench> Hello Tony. What do you want now?

Tony: I'm confused. I know what we're doing, but I don't know why.

Mick: Well last night we discussed...

Carenza: Argued!

Mick: We discussed these concentric ridges which would have been here, we think.

Tony: <Sprints to the spot and runs up and down waving his hands manically a foot above the ground> You mean like this?

Mick: Erm, yes Tony.

Stewart: The Birochronologist has just finished his research!

Tony: To the incident room! <Runs off>

<Incident room. Group of people etc>

Tony: Where's the Birochronologist?

Biro: I'm here!

Tony: What have you discovered?

Biro: Well it's a blue ink medium nib 1972 Bic biro with a child proof lid.

Tony: So the lid does match the biro then?

Biro: Correct.

Tony: Great! We can see here that Steve has done a computer reconstruction of the biro on his computer <Shot of computer with biro picture>. Great! I've just heard that there's been another find in trench one! <runs

<Trench one>

Tony: <Runs in> What have you found Phil?

Phil: Oo-arr you're not going to believe this Tony. We've found the remains of a ring pull!

Tony: Wow! Amazing! How does this link in with the historical data?

Robin: Well, I've found this ancient document which indicates that the Roman emperor Claudinius picnicked here in the 3rd century AD.

Tony: Right... ok!

Phil: Ooo-ar I've just discovered the top of the can that the ring-pull came from, Tony. Oo-arr.

Tony: Can you tell what flavour the drink was?

Phil: Not yet - we'll have to send it to the Can-chronologist.

Tony: But we haven't got time! Give it here, I'll taste it! <Absentmindedly steps into trench>

Everyone: Get out of the trench Tony!

Tony: Er... sorry. <Climbs out>. I'll just go and see if Victor has finished his picture! <runs off>

<Shot of Tony running across the field. In the distance we catch a glimpse of a crowd of pensioners all knitting rainbow
jumpers. Shot of Tony running back across the field to trench one>

Tony: Oh, you're there! Have you finished?

Victor: <Modestly> Well it needs a bit of touching up but I think it's ready for you to see. <Holds up picture of a house>

Tony: What! I'm confused. Mick, help me!

Mick: <Engrossed in conversation> Well John you've got to get some of those four inch screws for the door panel.

John: Oh yes, you can get them from B and Q.

<Tony looks at audience in a confused manner>

Mick: Yes that's right they're 7.99 a packet...

Tony: CAN WE GET ON?!!!

Mick & John: Err... sorry.

Tony: The resident archaeologist here is Brian Mayfeather. So Brian, what have you managed in twenty-nine years that we haven't done in two days?

Brian: <Weeping softly> It's so good of you to come and dig here. Now we can offer tours to the public.

Tony: But what of? <not noticing Brian walking off> I'm confused. MICK?!!

<Phil wanders over to Tony>

Tony: What's that smell? Oh its you Phil.

Phil: Oo-arr Tony! I've got my reconstruction of a biro.

Tony: Let's see!! <Phil holds up a twig roughly sharpened at one end> Great! Does it work?

Phil: It writes in horse manure.

<Mick runs over>

Mick: <Shouting> What is it Tony!

Tony: Our time's nearly up! What conclusions can we draw?

Mick: Well this site is definatly land, but what we haven't yet discovered is... well, anything really.

Tony: But why is this place called the Gloustershire cheesemaking land? I haven't seen a place of cheese all weekend.

<Person dressed as a great big piece of cheese walks behind the group>

Tony: Well, I guess there's some things we'll never know.


A while ago I received this great email from Richard Purves about this page. This is what he said:

"Unfortunately I appear to be a sad Time Team Anorak who has stumbled across your page. However I did find the spoof very, very funny (you should probably send it to Prof. Aston). But you made one small mistake, you forgot
this bit:"

Tony: <to camera> We've just received news of an exciting new discovery in a small field called shot-cochlea. It appears to be the Ark of the Covenant, and I'm off to have a look.

<In a small field somewhere in North Yorkshire>

Tony: So Mick, what have we got here.

Mick: Well it looks like the Ark of the Covenant Tony, but what I'm interested in is the context of this find.

Phil: God Arhhh!

Mick: I think we should look at what the people of North Yorkshire were doing in 5 B.C. and whether any of the Samian ware surrounding the Ark might give us a clue as to what these people were eating in the Iron Age.

Tony: Riveting Stuff, well be back in part 2 when Phil will try to make a replicate Iron Age arse-wipe and piss-pot, and well see what the people of the Iron Age were doing in 5 B.C. as well as the context of the Ark of the Covenant in a small field in North Yorkshire.

Which kinda says it all really.

Background Information

Not one of mine, but a firm favourite on this website for a long time. It was originally published on Catherine's site at university, and joined Planet Bods on 27 February 2000.

Photo Credit

Trench photograph by LAARCmanager and released under a Creative Commons licence.


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