But if you take a country like Greece, which clearly has so much history, how did you actually narrow down where to cover?
I know, it’s like choosing between your children! So, we were driven by whether there was something new to say or show. We’re also trying to tell the story of the places through time and through its treasures.
The programmes also cover a big range of chronology. So we go right back to the Bronze Age and prehistory and then up to the birth of the modern age, the story of Greek independence in 1821 and Byron and all of that.
One of the most startling things in the Gibraltar episode was the Neanderthal discoveries there...
I’d been there to research the story about six years ago and I was very aware that people didn’t know about it. So that was the other thing that we’re trying to do – not going to the obvious necessarily but to celebrate this incredible tapestry of human experience.
We were excited by having access to the discoveries there. One of the only benefits of the pandemic is that people have been so incredibly welcoming, so helpful, so willing to collaborate.
And there's this really beautiful notion, this ancient Greek notion of xenia, which is friendship and how it is really important to welcome strangers into your country.
And we benefited from that to the power of X in Greece, but also elsewhere because the pandemic has really made me realise we really do rely on other people all the time and the world is better if we help each other out rather than, you know, ignore one another.
It was a really positive experience.
But you do obviously get special access; if we go to the same sites will we be able to see the same things?
Well we tried to choose places where almost without exception you can see it as a traveller. For instance, the Gorham’s Cave Complex in Gibraltar – there are public tours you can book. And you can go into the underground temple in Malta, the Hypogeum, but you can’t take any photos.
There’s places that people are going to be able to enjoy even if not now. So like that amazing site in north Greece, Aigai, the city of Philip II; it’s being reconstructed and is going to be open to the public.