I could not be bothered to watch Britain's Secret Treasures last night, had something better to do. Apparently it was the erotic knife-handle story this week, another good reason to avoid the silliness. Reportedly last week they got something like 3.2 million viewers. Here's a review:
The mission of Britain's Secret Treasures (ITV), presented by Bettany Hughes and Michael Buerk, appears to be to convince us that there's also a fair amount of gold to be found in the fields. In the space of just over 20 minutes, the pair introduced stories of a sixth-century Anglo-Saxon sword that might have belonged to a Northumbrian king, a gold ring that probably did belong to the Earl of Pembroke, a fragment of a statue that could have been the Emperor Domitian on a horse, and a Victorian denture; all of which had been dug up in recent years. This sheer randomness was both the programme's strength and weakness. While the variety of clobber that lies buried is part of its charm, it needs rather more time and organisation when presented on screen. Five minutes on the sword just wasn't enough to give any idea of its historical importance – especially as one of them was spent by actor James Purefoy having a mock fight with a bloke dressed in chain mail. With only scraps of information on offer, the treasure might just as well have remained buried.John Crace, ' Up All Night: The Nightclub Toilet; Britain's Secret Treasures – TV review', The Guardian, Friday 18 October 2013.