They say through times of crisis people tune into staple TV viewing for comfort. When I was very ill in 2011, my crisis TV has always been Time Team. It started the year I started secondary school in 1994 and saw me through to college, university and beyond. Many of the faces changed over the years but three faces were nearly always present, Phil Harding, Tony Robinson and Mick Aston.
It was a shock last night when I discovered that Professor Mick Aston had passed away yesterday. Professor Aston provided a generation of young people with enthusiasm passion and infectious love of the past, in his gentle and humble way.
Off TV he had a prominent and pioneering career within academia as a Archaeologist and was widely published on the subject. He stepped away from Time Team in 2011 when he felt the changes to the format dumbed down the archaeological content. I think many of the viewers at this point agreed with him and unfortunately they only rectified the problem when it was too late.
His passion for Monastic sites was evident when Time Team went to former religious locations although his belief philosophy was humanist. The esteemed Professor was also vegetarian I remember him eating a duck egg roman style while the rest of the diggers ate eel on an episode of Time Team.
Charities close to his heart were the Woodland Trust, Greenpeace, Oxfam and Sightsavers International, he often donned a Sightsavers t-shirt when the weather was too warm for his trademark stripy jumpers.
This gentle man who did not liked the spotlight has left us with an amazing legacy of work both on screen as well academic and helped me through a scary time in my life. Thank you Mick for your passion and enthusiasm for the past. May you enjoy the Big Dig in the sky. Rest In Peace Professor.