For the uninitiated, Time Commanders pits two teams against each other in a recreation of historic battles, some famous, some less so, using the same game engine that you’ll find in computer games like Total War.
It first aired way back in 2003 and was essential viewing for me and my son. The original host was Eddie Mair who now anchors the PM programme on Radio Four, but he was replaced by Richard Hammond in 2005 when the show appeared to have run its course. So it was good news for me at least that the BBC have resurrected the idea more than a decade later.
The new host is Gregg Wallace of Masterchef fame. This might seem an odd choice, but there is no doubting his enthusiasm, even if he does describe an early outflanking manoeuvre as ‘getting mullered’ which I doubt is in the lexicon of the military high command.
The format is much the same although there are now teams of three rather than four. Each has a ‘general’ who oversees strategy while his two ‘captains’ command the troops on the ground as it were – ie by telling the bloke at the computer what they want their troops to do.
This week we had a three wrestlers from Scotland pitted against three posh boardgame fanatics from London who were a little too much into the role-playing for my liking.
They re-fought the Battle of Zama that brought an end to the Second Punic War when Hannibal was finally defeated by the Romans in 202 BC, under the command of Scipio Africanus. To be honest, both sides made a hash of things and, while the Romans were victorious, both Hannibal and Scipio were killed.
The studio experts were their usual enthusiastic selves in explaining what should have happened and perhaps the biggest surprise was that Dr Aryeh Nusbacher from Sandhurst Military College last seen in 2005 is now Dr Lynette Nusbacher.
Sadly there are only three episodes planned for this mini-series and you can watch the first here, at least for the next 26 days. I have it on good authority that next week we’ll see the Battle of Guernsey Road Car Park reliving the mighty tussle between Yorkshire Pudding and Premier Park.