TV archaeologist Neil Oliver comes to Bromley on stage tour revealing Britain’s secrets

PUBLISHED: 11:21 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:21 31 October 2019

Neil Oliver brings his stage tour to Bromley oon November 19. Picture: Grant Beed

Neil Oliver brings his stage tour to Bromley oon November 19. Picture: Grant Beed


He is the presenter of the amazingly popular television show Coast, and he is arriving at the Churchill Theatre for a real behind-the-scenes stage tour.

Neil's show on the UK coastline was loved by so many people, a stage tour with all its secrets was inevitable. Picture: Grant BeedNeil's show on the UK coastline was loved by so many people, a stage tour with all its secrets was inevitable. Picture: Grant Beed

Neil Oliver has seen some overwhelming demand to appear around the UK.

The archaeologist, historian, author and, of course, presenter of the Coast series is bringing his hugely successful theatre tour The Story Of The British Isles in 100 Places to Bromley.

He will be sharing his love of Great Britain and Ireland with audiences on this leg of the tour, which first took to the stage last year with an astonishing 38 dates.

Neil was appointed as president of the National Trust in Scotland in 2017 and is also known for his television series A History of Scotland and Vikings.

Whilst filming Coast Neil said he "fell in love all over again with the British Isles. From north to south, east to west it cradles astonishing beauty.

"The human story here is a million years old and counting."

Born in Renfrewshire in Scotland Neil studied archaeology at the University of Glasgow and freelanced as an archaeologist before training as a journalist.

In 2002 he made his television debut with BBC Two's Two Men in a Trench which featured him and his close friend Tony Pollard visiting historic British battlefields. Since that time he has been a regular on our screens.

He said the stage show was inspired by Ray Mears and his wife nudging him in that direction.

"Writing is 50 per cent of what I do, and I'm always thinking about the next book. Over the last 20 years, TV has taken me on a very unusual tour of Britain. As well as iconic places such as the White Cliffs of Dover, Edinburgh and Cardiff, I've gone to unexpected, remote places that take quite a lot of getting to. They are places that people have never heard of. So I'd become aware that an idiosyncratic chronology of the British Isles had formed in my head.

"I had seen everything from very early human settlements around Happisburgh, where there are footprints from 800,000 years ago, through the Stone and Metal Ages to sites connected to great moments from a more modern era. I thought I could easily choose 100 places - in fact, I could have chosen 500. I realised there was a story to be told from very early to modern times by introducing people to these places."

Neil said: "There are so many places in the British Isles that I love. For instance, Iona is somewhere I've been a lot over the years, and I love it.

"It's a great centre of Christianity, but beyond that it's a very spiritual place because of the look of it. It's a little island with a beautiful shape. It has turquoise seas, pink rocks and a wonderful abbey that dates back many centuries. It's a lovely, relaxing place to be.

"I love Avebury. I was taken there as an archaeology student in my teens, and I've visited it many times since. Whatever you think magic is, there is magic in Avebury. There is something there that just lets your imagination run free. It makes you think differently about the world. It's a very special place.

"I also love St Michael's Mount in Cornwall. It's a splendid site that has all these amazing legends about giants and dragons associated with it.

"I'm always in the position of finding out that I don't know anything. Every day is a school day. I'm always realising that however many interesting facts I've picked up, I don't know the half of it. I'm always thinking, 'I don't know enough'.

"What happened in Scotland during the mediaeval period was every bit as violent as Game of Thrones. If you think the House of Lannister is bloodthirsty, take a look at the Campbells and MacDonalds."

Neil Oliver will at The Churchill on November 19.

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