The Hadrian’s Wall episode of a new children’s series – Jedward’s Big Adventure – will be broadcast nationally on February 10.
The CBBC show, produced by Endemol UK, follows twins John and Edward Grimes on a mission to become the UK’s best tour guides.
Hadrian’s Wall is the fifth of five programmes broadcast over five consecutive days starting at 4.30pm on February 6, each featuring stunning World Heritage Sites across the country. Viewers can expect madness, mayhem and lots of fun.
Endemol approached Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, the organisation which coordinates the management, protection and marketing of the World Heritage Site, for advice on filming in the summer of 2011.
Hadrian’s Wall Heritage then arranged a series of visits for the stars and crew to various sites along the 73-mile long Roman boundary which was begun in AD122 and stretched between the North and the Irish Seas.
Jedward met experts from the National Trust, English Heritage, Vindolanda Trust, tour guide Gary Reed of Hadrian’s Wall Ltd and Chris Haines of the Ermine Street Guard.
In the programme Jedward are joined by Blue Peter’s Andy Akinwolere and Roar host Johny Pitts as they find out more about Roman Britain. They have just 24 hours to learn everything there is to know about the World Heritage Site before having to communicate the facts to a group of tourists in a way that only they can.
The teams meet archaeologists at Chesters Roman Fort, Housesteads and Vindolanda who help them try to dig up the past, and they discover that the Romans were very sophisticated and even had baths and toilets – though much to Jedward’s surprise these were shared experiences.
In order to pass the task, the tourists must successfully perform the famous ‘tortoise’ defence formation.
Who will win and be crowned the best tour guides, and who will be forced to carry out the forfeit and take a cold bath in the frigidarium at Chesters?
Chesters Roman Fort is one of the best preserved examples of its kind in the UK. The site stretches over six acres and includes the remains of the original four gates, commandant’s house, garrison headquarters and bath house.
Caroline Sinclair, marketing manager for English Heritage’s Hadrian’s Wall Group, said: “Jedward were in great spirits when they visited Chesters and Housesteads Roman Forts to film their new show. In fact, the forts made such an impression on the duo they bought a replica Roman helmet.”
Vindolanda Roman Fort and Museum was redeveloped in 2011 and saw the return of some of the sites famous writing tablets from the British Museum. Its visitor numbers have risen dramatically in the last year.
The team at Vindolanda welcomed Jedward and their enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed.
Justin Blake, deputy director of excavations at The Vindolanda Trust, said: “It was great to have Jedward at our site; it’s fantastic that they will bring our fabulous corner of the world to a new generation of explorers. They were so polite and a delight to work with and we are really excited about seeing the show.”
Jedward commented: “We’ve really loved making this show for CBBC.
“We’ve also learnt so much about the UK and if all else fails in music we can now take up a career as professional tour guides!”
Neil Carney, marketing and communications manager for Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, added: “We hope that many more people will follow Jedward’s example and join the 3.5m staying visitors who come to enjoy the fascinating sites throughout Hadrian’s Wall Country.
“The World Heritage Site covers 150 miles from Ravenglass in Cumbria across to Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields, taking in Carlisle, Hexham and Newcastle along the way.
“There’s lots to see and do for all ages and we hope Jedward’s visit and the CBBC programme will inspire people to visit the Hadrian’s Wall sites over February half-term.”
Chesters is open every winter weekend, including 10am to 4pm on February 11-12 and 18-19 for half-term.
Housesteads is closed for the winter and undergoing redevelopment to provide improved visitor facilities including a cafe, shop and new museum displays. It will reopen in April.
Vindolanda is open from 10am to 5pm from February 11 through to the end of March when the site and museum will then be open until 6pm. April sees the start of the 2012 excavation season when hundreds of excavators from all over the globe will visit Vindolanda to help in uncovering more of the history of this amazing Roman site.
For half-term The Roman Army Museum, The Vindolanda Trust’s second site, opens its redeveloped education room complete with holographic Roman teacher.