Other periods

Britannia at Badon2014 was another successful year, in spite of some truly awful weather our shows were excellently received. As well as our usual shows like Kelmarsh and Dover for our friends in English Heritage, we also were pleased to have appeared at Fishbourne Roman Palace, Bourne Hall Museum, Surrey, Chiltern Open Air Museum. Our new client was Eastbourne Redoubt, we helped to promote the ‘Meet The Ancestors’ exhibition (as part of celebrating Eastbourne coastline’s ancient heritage) and later went on to stage a gladiator show within the redoubt fortress itself. We also worked on TV's Crackanory, on a story read by Warwick Davies, this was a fun experience and we provided personnel and kit for the production company.

Britannia in action We were proud to have supported the RAF 47 Squadron at Brize Norton in their big event to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research in 2014. It was a lovely, successful day and the highly professional men and women of 47 Squadron made us feel very welcome and very looked after. We attended Welwyn Baths as part of their Roman festival, but sadly we suffered a major setback when our club vehicle was hit head-on by a truck when in transit to this event. One of our members was seriously hurt and we lost a lot of vital equipment. The organisers at Welwyn and club members that did attend were able to carry on and we are happy to say that the public and client were pleased with our input on this occasion, despite the setback. (Thanks to M Byrne, D Richardson and Nicki Oborne, who worked hard to co-ordinate a display at short notice). Shortly after this we worked on ‘Weekend Warriors’ for Yesterday Channel, this was great project to have been involved with and despite our setbacks with personnel and equipment due to the accident we were still able to put on an interpretation of the Battle of Mount Badon. (Episode 5 Weekend warriors, Yesterday Channel). Thanks to the brilliant efforts of Matt Bunker, (group liaison) Mark Fox (cavalry co-ordinator) and everyone that kept things going in difficult circumstances. We finished the year on a positive note, after a short break we were once again working on Horrible Histories for series 6, including a Magna Carta special with Ben Miller and a sketch with Jack Rosenthal. We are delighted to have worked in all six series. (Long may it last). We’re looking forward to our season in 2015, please keep an eye on our events page. Dan Shadrake Jan 2015 .

Britannia filming `New Tricks'

We had a brilliant kick-start to 2014. Forty adult members and seven of our junior participants spent the day filming on location at Pinewood Studios for police drama `New Tricks' (BBC1). The production company (Wall to Wall), crew and cast were lovely to work with and thanks to their professionalism (and great weather) the day whizzed by and proved to be one of our best filming projects to date.

We were lucky to have worked with New Tricks regulars: Tamzin Outhwaite, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Denis Lawson and Dennis Waterman as well as guest stars Alix Wilton Regan, Elliot Levey and Gary Oliver. Several scenes involving a fictitious re-enactment society `Imperium' featured Britannia members, tents and props. Our living history section gladiators and seven of Britannia's child members were called upon to interact with the stars of the show and they did a grand job.

We were also lucky enough to have Roman cookery team `Taste of History' (www.tasteofhistory.co.uk) present during the filming, their excellent cookery tent provided the backdrop to some of the dialogue.

Our of our gladiators (Andrew House) worked with the stuntmen to stage a fight which turns out to be a critical part of the story.
With Jack Rosenthal

Two Britannia members with John HannahBritannia had a busy 2013.

Our storage facility had to change locations and constructed a new secure building.

We worked on the introduction to BBC's One Show recently and were lucky  enough to have spent the afternoon with movie star John Hannah (who played Lentulus Batitatus in the TV Series `Spartacus'). Live television, especially working in the confines of a small studio was a valuable experience and we were looked after very nicely by the One Show team.

Britannia staged a reconstruction of the Battle of Badon and contributed to the Chester Roman festival in 2012. Both events were very well received and despite our gladiator show at the Kelmarsh event being cancelled in 2012 due to flooding we are looking forward to supporting English Heritage again in 2013.

Horrible Histories

We also contributed to what may well be the final series of Horrible Histories (Series 5) both on location and in the studio. Amongst the many sketches we worked on were a version of popular UK car review show Top Gear being hosted by Vikings, and the Roman Consul Crassus singing about his wealth in the style of a rap artist...complete with bling! Directors Dominic Brigstocke and Steve Connelly were very complimentary about our contributions.

Our shows for 2013 are already stacking up, so do check out our events page!

In late 2011 Britannia worked on the 4th Series of Horrible Histories. Most of this was location work involving diverse periods such as Roman Republicans, Persians, Greeks (Spartans, Athenians and Macedonians) as well as Knights Templar and at least one fainting Elizabethan fop!The experience has proved to be both challenging and enormous fun in equal measure, an article on our experiences appeared in Skirmish Magazine in early 2012.

In the Summer of 2011 we staged four gladiator shows for clients: English Heritage, Fishbourne Roman Palace and The Museum of London. These proved to be a great success and all four weekends were playing to full capacity crowds. The highest profile event was for the Museum of London. This was the re-creation of the gladiatorial games in London's Guildhall Yard, site of London's Roman amphitheatre. Not only did this draw a crowd of over 6,000 spectators it also received very positive reviews from the national newspapers and Time Out magazine.

Collage of Britannia in action


Britannia also worked on series 3 of Horrible Histories, the location and studio work was a great experience for many of our people in a variety of roles.

The cast and crew were very dedicated, professional and often hysterically funny!

We were also lucky enough to work with Horrible Histories author Terry Deary .

Here's his site: http://www.terry-deary.com/pg/television-and-movies

Terry Deary with Britannia members for the `Horrible Histories'Britannia's Dan Shadrake with actors Matt Baynton, Ben Willibond and Simon Farnaby









Britannia members portraying knights


Gladiators; Back from the DeadGLADIATORS; BACK FROM THE DEAD (October Films)
Britannia assisted with most of the equipment and personnel in this landmark Channel 4 Documentary for UK TV. Shown in June 2010.










Britannia members on the set of `Centurion'Centurion, (Director: Neil Marshall 2009)
Centurion: Britannia featured heavily in the combat scenes and Dan Shadrake
of Britannia advised on the drill and co-ordinated the Roman army in the
battle scenes.






Late Roman troops and calvaryBritannia played host to the official English Heritage 410AD - 2010AD celebrations at Old Sarum hillfort near Salisbury (UK)

Britannia, along with guests from the UK, Germany, France and Sweden managed to form the first Later Roman Century (80 Men) seen since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Our client was thrilled and the crowds went wild.









A Britannia member on the set of `Nottingham'Robin Hood: Britannia took part in this new epic in various locations in the UK (Guests of Clan Ranald/Combat International).
Director: Ridley Scott









Britannia members on the set of `Nottingham'
















Britannia members with actor Jim Howick on the `Horrible Histories' setTV Work

Britannia worked on the 1st and 2nd Series of CBBC's `Horrible Histories' working as Caveman!extras, advisors and providing props. Some of Britannia are seen here with actor Jim Howick.

Right: Britannia member Matt Shadrake as a caveman in the `Horrible Histories' CSI Stone Age sketch.







Britannia members unearthed a later Roman sword chape in a rabbit hole, on the edge of a spoil heap at Flag Fen in 2008.Bronze (3rd-4th Century AD).

Measurements 2.5 inches across (It has two holes - one central counter-sunk hole & one at the base on one side only). One commentator said it looked like it was deliberately damaged (a sword sized hole ruptured through the base of the chape) and the funny grass pattern on it was probably the result of years of sitting in a Fenland reed-bed!

Britannia members Joe Purcell & Dan Shadrake were putting up tents on the edge of the spoil-bank and saw it sitting near a rabbit hole. They first thought it was a Victorian pocket watch, but when they shook the soil off of the item they thought it looked like a distinct kind of Later Roman chape (This was a lucky recognition on the part of Britannia members as it could have been discarded as rubbish because of its rather plain industrial appearance). It was indeed later confirmed as a damaged 3rd-4th Century bronze Roman sword chape (scabbard end).

The chapeSadly because of its location (on the surface) it is impossible to date it precisely or link it to any specific area in Flag Fen.
It remains a curiosity used by Cambridge's educational department.

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