2014 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.
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 .
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.
Britannia 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
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.
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.
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
GLADIATORS; BACK FROM THE DEAD (October Films)
Centurion, (Director: Neil Marshall 2009)
Britannia 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.
Robin Hood: Britannia took part in this new
epic in various locations in the UK (Guests of Clan Ranald/Combat
Britannia worked on the 1st and 2nd Series of CBBC's `Horrible Histories' working as 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).
of its location (on the surface) it is impossible to date it precisely
or link it to any specific area in Flag Fen.