10,000 Years on, Channel 4 unveils the face of the 'First Brit'


Channel 4 has commissioned The First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man from Plimsoll Productions, Bristol. The film will exclusively unveil the face of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton. It will air as part of Channel 4’s critically-acclaimed Secret History strand; previous films have included Titanic: The New Evidence in January last year - the 8th most - watched show on Channel in 2017.

This 1 x 60 film follows the UK’s most ambitious and cutting edge Ancient DNA project to date. For the first time, a team of top scientists at the Natural History Museum and University College London have analysed the DNA of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton. Known as ‘Cheddar Man,’ this human male fossil was originally unearthed over a hundred years ago in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset.

Building on this advanced genetic testing of his 10,000 year old bones, two of the most acclaimed palaeontological model makers in the world, Dutch identical twins Adrie and Alfons Kennis, have recreated his entire head to give this extraordinary skeleton a real identity for the first time. The Kennis brothers are experts in recreating animals and humans that are scientifically accurate with a focus on human evolution. Through the combined efforts of the ground-breaking scientific research and accurate facial recreation, this TV exclusive will allow Britain to come face-to-face with the first inhabitant who we can directly connect to Britons today.

Since his discovery in 1903, science has done its best to reveal Cheddar Man’s story. But key questions like what he looked like, where he came from and how he relates to us have been impossible to answer – until now. The First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man endeavours to answer these questions, connecting us ever closer to our oldest modern ancestor by revealing a story never told before of who we are, what we looked like and where we came from.

Channel 4 Specialist Factual Commissioner Rob Coldstream commissioned the film. Producer and Director is Steven Clarke, and Andrew Jackson is Executive Producer for Plimsoll.

Steven Clarke, Director, said: “This is one of the most exciting programmes I have ever worked on. To see the face of the first Brit, someone we could all be related to, is going to be absolutely fascinating. Especially in these times."

Notes to Editors

  • The original complete skeleton is owned by the Marquess of Bath (the Longleat estate has held the lands at Cheddar where the skeleton was excavated since the 16th century); Cheddar Man’s remains are currently on loan to the Natural History Museum and on display in the Museum’s Human Evolution gallery.

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