LOST WORLDS : THE PAGANS
1 X 60 mins - History Channel
Atlantic Productions - 2006
Looking at the Pagan history of Britain from 3,000 BC to the Roman invasion, this programme reconstructs and interprets the story of our ancestors from the monuments they left behind.
I’ve included two clips here - the opening pre-title tease and a longer segment from the middle of the programme. In that second clip historian Ronald Hutton presents his own theory for why the magnificent Silbury Hill was built. Armed with a red flag, he and co-investigator Erika Huttman set out to show how the mound could have been used to co-ordinate pagan celebrations at sites many miles apart. It’s a theory that cuts across much of the received wisdom of what Silbury Hill was for - but once you’re there in the landscape Ronald’s theory all starts to make sense.
The Pagans was an extremely enjoyable programme to make, not just because of the subject matter, which I personally find fascinating, but also because it was the last episode in that series of Lost Worlds.
Consequently, there wasn’t quite as much budget left at that stage as we might have hoped! So it was a real challenge to put together a powerful and compelling programme which would do justice to the rest of the series.
I therefore shot much of the footage, especially the reconstruction scenes, myself. A sequence involving a burial scene in an Orkadian tomb I actually filmed in my garage!
The two “investigators” were a delight to work with. Ronald Hutton is of course quite well known, very experienced on TV and a real enthusiast who can bring a story to vividly to life. But, being an American channel, History wanted an American presence as well. Finding an American expert on the British Neolithic wasn’t easy but even though Dr. Erika Guttmann had never presented on TV and needed a little persuading I knew she’d be great from the first moment I met her.