TV star Tony Robinson reveals a surprising history of Bristol in a unique film

November 24 2017

The star of TV’s Blackadder and Time Team, Sir Tony Robinson, reveals many of Bristol’s hidden historical secrets in a new DVD released this week.

The star of TV’s Blackadder and Time Team, Sir Tony Robinson, reveals many of Bristol’s hidden historical secrets in a new DVD released this week.  

Director of the film, St Andrew's resident Martin Weitz, says it is an extraordinary record of Bristol’s amazing history, capturing rare images of the city which simply could not be filmed nowadays; including access to the secret tunnels and rivers under the city centre and a scene shot inside the pump room of the 18th century Hotwells Spa.   

The film captures Tony’s passion for history combined with his great sense of humour - for example when he goes on board the ss Great Britain, he gives a highly entertaining recitation of an historic poem about a roly-poly pudding in pure Blackadder style. 

There’s a literally breathtaking ascent to the top of the Cabot Tower and an eye-opening visit to St Mary Redcliffe Church where he meets up with his alter ego, Baldrick’s “old friend Queenie”. 

The film also recaptures the highly moving occasion when The Matthew, the Bristol-built replica of John Cabot’s tiny ship that discovered Newfoundland, sails down the River Avon, out into the open sea for the very first time. 

In this revealing investigation of Bristol’s history, Tony Robinson also delves into the Slave Trade when he visits Henbury Churchyard, in search of the grave of Scipio Africanus, a young slave brought to the city. 

This unique film is also crammed full of entertaining nuggets of history, including the story of the great paddle steamers, which took Victorians from Bristol to Clevedon on “grand days out”.  

Recently re-discovered by the award-winning, Bristol documentary company, Focus Productions, this film has been beautifully restored by editors and technicians at one of the city’s top TV post-production houses, Evolutions Bristol.

“Sir Tony Robinson’s  famed History of Bristol “ is available from Waterstones, The Galleries, Bristol and selected retailers for £9.99. It can also be ordered online from Amazon.co.uk  and Focus Productions’ own website,www.focusproductions.co.uk