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Ancient Worlds: Making classic television

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As the TV series Ancient Worlds reaches its conclusion, its writer and presenter Richard Miles looks at the challenges of making a historical documentary.

It only takes a few days on the road before it starts to creep up on you. The feeling is empowering: a new-found steely determination. Within a few weeks of being on location, however, you and the rest of the film crew start to display the full-blown symptoms of what is a recognised condition in the world of television documentary making – a detachment from your immediate surroundings that can often border on tunnel vision. Welcome to what is known as the ‘TV bubble’, a collective state of mind that makes anything that is not directly relevant to the programme that you are making completely superfluous and often invisible.

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