Time Commanders

The great thing about catch-up tv is that you can, well…, catch-up on the tv you’ve missed and last night I caught up with Time Commanders which started a new series this week.

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.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • Trevor Rowley 17th December 2016

    Can’t say that I would share your enthusiasm for this type of TV fare, Mr P (each to his own). However, it has made me think of a little gem that occurred to me about a weeks ago. Like most people, I would imagine, the TV series, Blackadder, is always an enjoyable watch for me and I recently took in a rerun (for about the twentieth time) of the episode where Blackadder is confronted by the completely “overthetop” Bishop of Bath and Wells, complete with red-hot poker (“no depths of depravity are too low for me to trawl”). Something about the actor playing this terrific part gave me an inkling that I knew him from something totally different. Some days later, up pops an episode of Porridge and the “greasy” prison inmate character, Harris, swings into view. A quick check on Wikipedia reveals that both parts are played by Ronald Lacey, sadly now no longer with us. A couple of days later,he pops up as a rather posh boy in the Lovejoy antique dealer series. Never a top star, actors like these are the backbone of our entertainment industry. Always in work but never a houshold name, they fill the cast list with quality but rarely get much of a mention.

    PS I then remembered that he had featured in the early 1960s black and white British film “The Boys” (teenage tearaways and Teddy Boys, God forbid) where, I think, he’s in the dock as one of the accused.

    • Mr Parrot 17th December 2016

      I know exactly who you mean Trevor – I can see his greasy DA in my mind’s eye even as I type.

      I wouldn’t write off Time Commanders though. I suppose it depends on whether you have an interest in military history.

  • Trevor Rowley 17th December 2016

    I’m not dismissing military history, as such, Mr P. Perhaps more the way we might be trivialising it when converting it into a “game.” I’ve never latched on to the gaming concept. However, as I’ve said before, each to his own. I’ll try and dig out the programme you are referring to and give it a “coat of looking at.”


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