Orkney’s history, nature and landscape will be the focus of a special three-part BBC Two series to be broadcast at the start of 2017.

‘Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney’ will take a closer look at Orkney’s Neolithic past, including the fascinating archaeological excavation at the Ness of Brodgar. Historian Neil Oliver will be at the site, investigating the possibility that the islands were the cultural capital of the ancient world.

The incredible Ness of Brodgar excavation in Orkney - image by Hugo Anderson-Whymark


Other experts, including Chris Packham, Andy Torbet and Dr Shini Somara, will also be hosting the programmes with the focus on different aspects of life in the islands. Local wildlife will be featured along with the geology of Orkney – including a close-up look at the famous Old Man of Hoy!

But much of the series will centre on the incredible archaeology to be found across this archipelago. The team will be exploring tombs and monuments, as well as looking at how early Orcadians moved huge slabs of stone over rough ground for miles to special, sacred sites.

The BBC crew were present in Orkney for much of the summer, travelling across the islands for the three, one hour long episodes. Although concentrating on the Ness of Brodgar, filming also took place in island communities including Hoy, Sanday, Stronsay and Westray. Aside from archaeology, geology and wildlife, Orkney’s renewable energy expertise will also be highlighted.

Filming was carried out in Hoy but adventurer Andy Torbet will be tackling a different sea-stack to the iconic Old Man during the programme - image by Mark Ferguson


It’s expected the three episodes will very much take a hands-on approach and there was plenty of community input during the production too - expect to see plenty of well-known faces and voices.

So, get ready to start 2017 in style and be inspired by our islands.

‘Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney’ will be broadcast on BBC Two at 9pm on the 2nd of January 2017.


Explore our website to search for accommodation and find out more about our communities. You can also uncover more about Orkney through the Orkney.com website.