If you follow our dig diary you may remember that we were filming for the Digging for Britain programme during this year's dig at Swandro. I say 'we' because the production team give you a video camera & let you loose on site, although their producer Karen did come up to visit for a few days and took some footage while she was here. They-who-shall-be-obeyed aka Steve & Julie the dig directors went down to London to be interviewed by Alice Roberts for the programme - that's Alice on the left in this pic, Julie in the middle & of course Steve on the right looking very worried:
I must say Alice & Julie do look a bit like they're cooking up some devilry there - must be the weird lighting, I'm sure they weren't really going 'double, double toil & trouble' - they were talking about our Pictish anvil with the world-famous handprints, not about a cauldron after all - just as well since we never found a cauldron. Anyway the stone was way too heavy to ship down & back to London so I think maybe they mimed it - will have to wait & see.
Any way the point of this is that tonight's the night! At 9pm on BBC4 to be precise, and if you miss tonight's programme you can catch up on the BBC i-player - sorry, this only works if you're in the UK because of the TV licencing laws. The programme is made by an independent production company though so you may be able to see it in your country at some point in the future. They've even used the 'double double toil & trouble' shot as the screen shot to advertise it:
Now - the big question - do I tell my mum that I might possibly be on the telly tonight? I know if I do she'll spend the next 4 hours on the phone telling everyone & then I'll be a dot in the distance. This happened big time to a cousin of mine who did cycling holidays - he took a well-known TV presenter out for a whole day's (free) mountain biking complete with tagalong film crew in a 4 x 4, whole family alerted in advance, we were all glued to our TV screens & they didn't show any of it - the presenter just went 'you can hire bicycles here too!' Think I'll not mention it - but we are hoping it'll be 10 minutes of fame - at least for the site & the anvil.
Having Swandro on Digging for Britain will also be great publicity for Rousay and for Orkney. The sun shone all summer and we all got very brown & hardly needed waterproofs at all, so the whole country will see Orkney at it's beautiful best, sun glistening on rippling water and lots of bonny views all round:
This is an important point - Orkney relies heavily on the tourism industry, and visitors bring in about £65 million annually, making tourism just as important as our other big industry, agriculture - namely beef and lamb production. In fact I was at a conference yesterday when it was pointed out by Nick Card, director of that other little excavation in Orkney, the Ness of Brodgar, that they'd had a study done that showed that the Ness brought in £1 million worth of tourism to Orkney every year just on its own. Heritage and culture is one of the big reason that people visit Orkney, so every little helps in terms of publicity. Hopefully Swandro appearing on Digging for Britain will do our bit in terms of helping the economy to tick over in Orkney - now if we could just get Professor Alice Roberts to come and visit - or even come and dig with us - that'd be the icing on the cake!