OK, she’s compulsively watchable and totally OTT, but Mortimer Wheeler wasn’t exactly a wallflower, and he wasn’t afraid to let his freak flag fly if it kept people watching. And now he’s held up as the granddaddy of public archaeology.
In the same way that Tony Robinson acted as an archaeology-to-English translator, the emotions that so visibly passed over Philippa Langley’s face were probably a mirror for what a lot of us watching were feeling, to a certain degree. Who can’t relate to being so over-excited about something that it becomes impossible to manage your expectations, or control your reactions? Three words: HARRODS CHRISTMAS SALE.
In this age where ‘transferable skills’ and generalism is encouraged over specialisms, it’s fantastic to see someone so single-mindedly obsessed with one topic. And does the fact she’s not a “Dr” mean that her passion and obsessiveness is less approval-worthy?
Think about Dr Irving Finkel at the British Museum – one of the most intelligent and fascinating nutters/celebrated eccentrics out there. Who would he be, if he wasn’t a world authority on his subject, and where would scholarship be without his depth of knowledge? What a shame it would be to live in a world that doesn’t appreciate people like Irving and Philippa.
Best moment of the whole programme: Jo Appleby trying not to laugh when they were viewing the skellie. Hope she’s not a poker player!