TIME TEAM running out of time…

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February 18, 2013 by Whispering Smith

Published in the Littlehampton Gazette February 7th. 2013

Do we really need a new retail park adding to the already congested A259? Yet another garden centre and restaurant? Another food retailer when we have Tesco at one end and Asda at the other with Morrisons and a new supersized Sainsbury’s in between? LA certainly does not need it with our Waitrose, Lidl, Iceland and Sainsbury stores already located. It may bring new jobs to the area but how many existing jobs will the heavyweight competition cost? The main impact would be, I imagine, on Rustington which has an excellent highly regarded and compact shopping centre and is already under threat from the south coast super store invasion. No, for many reasons the ADC need to think very carefully on this one and not just grab at short term and moneymaking gains.

That old saw that bad news travels swiftly isn’t really true. For instance, I have only just heard that Time Team, that long running archaeological show which is, at various times, exciting and at others soporific, has been cancelled by Channel Four in order to make way for new shows. The programme first aired in 1994 and there are a few more episodes to be shown before it vanishes forever. Who will ever forget Phil Harding and his cowboy hat filled with delight at finding a piece of worked flint the size of a fingernail, Tony Robinson rushing hither and thither in an effort to give urgency to the three day dig or consultant Mick Aston’s often windswept and worried look. Aston departed the show before it was cancelled thinking it had been ‘dumbed down’ and that there was ‘a lot less archaeological content and a lot more pratting about’ referring I guess to the re-enactment side of things with Harding often playing the clown. Were the team ever in the LA area? Yes. It seems they visited Blackpatch on the downs at Long Furlong near Clapham and Highdown to reassess the work of amateur archaeologist John Pull whose discovery of a prehistoric site was rather ignored and later bulldozed. Also at Alfoldean near Slinfold which is a little ways up the River Arun to explore the site of a Roman settlement. Al three sites are close by, atmospheric and well worth a walking visit. On a sad note, I always believed my two young children really enjoyed the show but in later years they informed me that they only watched it to please me. Deceitful little beggars! The team ought to have returned to LA one more time as there are still a few old fossils around here that would bear closer examination!

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