Wednesday 22 September 2010, 17:08
We are outside Mary's Deli in the village of Kibworth in Leicestershire, and I am scribbling this as the camera crew gulp a quick coffee, after an early start.
Now one year into Michael Wood's Story Of England and we all really feel at home here. Mary automatically puts extra milk in the producer's tea, and it's impossible to walk down the street without meeting people who have helped us.
But how did it all start? Well, I had always wanted to try to tell the whole story of English history from one place, through the eyes of the people, not the rulers.
I felt sure that looking at history from this perspective would tell a completely different but no less dramatic story and one which we all could relate to - as it would be the history of us.
And why Kibworth? I was led to Kibworth first by its remarkable archive of historical documents. And split by the A6 on the fringe of the multiracial city of Leicester, Kibworth is emphatically today's England in miniature.
So the Story of England is the tale of one community over time, but it could be any place. It could be yours.
Making the series all started over a year ago with the Big Dig, which you'll see in episode one. We advertised on BBC Radio Leicester and 250 locals turned up at the school hall for an archaeological weekend.
Supervised by experts, they dug 55 test pits (the most ever done in a single place). The dig was a success beyond our wildest dreams.
We got Roman sherds, remarkable early and late Anglo-Saxon pottery, all the way through the Middle Ages to the debris of Georgian coaching inns, frame knitters' workshops and even in one pit household throwouts from the 1960s!
And even the children really got into it - as one of the villagers, Louise Dodds said: "We've never seen the kids concentrate so hard in all our lives!"
As the series continues, you'll see us go on to field walking, tree ring dating and DNA tests. We've found a Roman villa and Norman castle mound.
The villagers have researched in the National Archives, and we've gone with the high school kids on their battlefield tour to the Somme.
The village was even strafed and bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War Two. The local Home Guard commander camouflaged his beloved silver and red Singer sports car so well that he had to send out his men to find it: a scene worthy of Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army!
And filming back in England after years on the road? Well, I used to think that washing in a mountain stream at dawn on the Hindu Kush and breakfast with black tea and coarse bitter bread was just about as good as it gets on a film shoot.
But now as the village wakes up, with Richard the postman doing his rounds, Debbie putting out the sign outside the bookshop, and Mrs Croxford (97 this month) heading down to the Co-op, I must say that Mary's Marmite toast and coffee runs it pretty close!
Michael Wood is the presenter of Michael Wood's Story Of England.
For all future programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.
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Wednesday 22 September 2010, 11:10
Friday 24 September 2010, 11:37