Boffin Beard’s BAFTA Beaut

Classics Professor Mary Beard could be set for a BAFTA after her documentary on Pompeii was nominated in the Secialist Factual section.

Cambridge classicist Mary Beard could bag a BAFTA, after her team was nominated in the Specialist Factual section for a documentary on Pompeii.

Life and Death in a Roman Town will go up against Alan Bennett and the Habit of Art, Flying Monsters 3D, and Human Planet, with the winner being announced at a ceremony on 22nd May.

Speaking to The Tab, Beard said: “I had great fun making the programme. I was very surprised and also pleased [to be nominated], especially because it shows that a non-tricksy, no-CGI etc programme can still capture people’s attention.”


Part of the potentially award-winning documentary

Appearances on shows such as Jamie’s Dream School and Newsnight have seen the Newnham prof become a familiar face on TV. However, her work on Pompeii last year saw Beard in her area of expertise.

Rave reviews of Beard’s book, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, had seen the Beeb pick up on the idea of a programme showing the dirty reality of everyday life for citizens in the Italian town.

The finished product saw the prof exploring cesspits, brothels, and cellars to try and give people a grasp of what daily life was like for Pompeiians, showing their lives to be as interesting as their death. It was first broadcast last December to over 3 million viewers.

Asked by The Tab about plans for celebration, Beard replied: “I plan to consume champagne whether we win or not. We’re up against some really big name programmes, so I don’t intend to make celebration conditional on winning!”

Despite the large amount of time taken to make such programmes, Beard continues to educate and entertain classicists and historians, and is giving a lecture series on Roman slavery this term.

Read Mary Beard’s thoughts on classics, admissions, and playing around with people’s husbands HERE.