Tuesday 17 August 2021

Kids Go A-Looting North of the Border With Hello Halo TV

Hello Halo TV is a Glasgow-based independent television production company that claims to "make fresh, ambitious popular factual series and formats for UK and international broadcasters", here are some examples. They also produce "original and standout children’s content for both British and International Broadcasters and in all genres [...] Our aim is to create innovative child led content that engages and inspires our young audience". Inspires them to do what

From the clips, what it seems is what it takes is to be diminutive, sweet, with a lisp and an endurance for being talked down to. British archaeology has been doing its usual sterling work communicating archaeological values and the importance of the preservation of the historical record from looting for "cool things to find".

This time, though, the TV company is outside the area covered by the Pretty Antiquities Scheme. North of the border the Treasure Unit does not even pretend to be archaeological outreach to the public I think. So who is? Neither does the Code of Best Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales apply north of the border. There is still no Scottish equivalent. 

I think we can all think of ways to make kids' TV about the historical environment that does not involve trashing it. Just off the top of my head: like looking at centuries-old hedged field boundaries (species count, and discussing them as a habitat, link in the field with old maps), lynchets, ridge and furrow landscapes, old fishpond earthworks, old trackways (Roman road following), spotting building materials in old walls (Roman tile, slag, reused architectural fragments), standing in a field of cropmarks and then flying a drone over them and trying to relate what's on the ground where they are standing with the pattern it shows. Do the same with an old abandoned garden with geometric planning. I know of an 18th century estate map done in watercolours where you can still stand under many of the trees shown in watercolour as an aerial view and find the foundations of the stable block in a clump of tall nettles ("growing there because of the poo"). There are a hundred and one non-destructive things that with a bit of imagination you could do to make kids watching the programme aware, give them a new perspective (ahem, PAS, "engage with archaeology"), give them an insight into the time-depth of the landscape around them, provoke curiosity. None of them particularly expensive and all with  the same focus on landscape as in teh "Detectorists" comedy series. Yet, all the time, out come the metal detectors. Because it's easier and needs no creativity to execute. Easy money.   

Hat tip: Alan Simkins (HA)


Brian Mattick said...

I'm sure there are some diminutive, sweet children with oikish parents south of the border who might be tempted to go in for this so it IS PAS business IMO.

Paul Barford said...

Have a look at the application form, they need a photo and your POSTCODE. I think they'll be looking for sweet kiddies locally so they don't have to pay for travel of them (and one hopes their carer). It all looks a little unprofessional and unfriendly, "if we don't contact you by the end of October, you've been rejected". Can't see anyone much going along with that.

Paul Barford said...

Oh, and of course another question is "are you a member of a metal detecting club"? Which is a sneaky way to say "so you'll be able to bring your own metal detector then, so we won't have to supply you one".. looks like a shoestring setup to me.

Brian Mattick said...

What's the betting they find something pretty good?

Paul Barford said...

And the "expert from the museum" they call in will be baffled, astonished and full of praise. And give his/her time for free to get on TV, of course.

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