The Mary Rose: a Timewatch Guide, BBC4 - TV review

The finds were undoubtedly fascinating but there was not much Snow could do without a rather more eye-catching stage and set

The Mary Rose: a Timewatch Guide, charted 40 years of excavation of Henry's VIII's war ship. Historian Dan Snow turned the microscope on the intricacies of underwater archaeology. While engagingly presented, this show's success was limited by the unphotogenic nature of, well, a wreck.

This telling of the story of the Mary Rose – discovered in 1971 and raised in 1982 – relied on archive footage, paired with segments showing Dan Snow in various hermetically sealed vaults trying to make viewers enthusiastic about brown lumps of metal, combined with reconstructed footage that wouldn't have look out of place in a school history video.

The finds were undoubtedly fascinating – from the barber surgeon's kit containing grisly instruments that showed the on-board medic did a lot more than pulling out rotting teeth, to the rosary beads revealing that the crew eschewed the mainland's repression of Catholicism – but there was not much even Snow could do without a rather more eye-catching stage and set.

Comments