Beat the Ancestors



Dick Strawbridge


Dragonfly for Channel 5, 24 February to 21 October 2013 (5 episodes in 1 series)


Fairly standard build-a-machine show with an historical twist - the challenge is to build, say, a Roman ballista or a Byzantine fireboat, or somesuch. The show has echoes of... well, all previous build-a-machine shows, if we're honest, but especially Colonel Dick's previous shows Scrapheap Challenge and The Re-Inventors.

Unfortunately, with just the one resident team, and a pass/fail condition based on historians' calculations of what the originals were capable of, rather than The Re-Inventors' use of genuine machines (and to be fair, that would be difficult here, as there simply aren't any surviving originals to compete against), the show lacks much in the way of excitement and struggles to come across as anything more than an obvious knock-off of previous formats. Oh, the irony.


The show originally aired as a Sunday teatime show before being pulled from the schedules after 2 episodes. It returned in a Monday night slot to air the remaining 3 episodes.

Web links

Official site


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