Friday, April 1, 2011

Return that Loot!

An idea put forward recently was obviously intended as an April Fool joke by a US cultural property lawyer, but the idea behind it is in fact sound and would probably make good television. Maybe not "Zani Hanass", but another figure from the world of culture as the host, and instead of an "audience of archaeologists", a game show format with an invited panel of various people arguing the pros and cons, with short (no more than 5 mins) colourful film reports of where the object came from, what significance it has in its original context, what significance it has in its new context. Then viewers vote by texting the programme with the results announced the following week. The objects should be chosen from all over the world, from among the obvious famous ones which viewers may well have seen in museums (or been to the place they were taken from) on one holiday or another and a few more obscure ones.

If a British TV company made it, they could use the British Museum and its Portable Antiquities Scheme as a source of commentators and panellists - a far better TV use of the latter than what they were apparently proposing to do in December staging a programme about Treasure hunting.

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