Alice Roberts

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For other people named Alice Roberts, see Alice Roberts (disambiguation).
Alice Roberts
12 01 2016 Alice headshot.jpg
Roberts in January 2016
Born Alice May Roberts
(1973-05-19) 19 May 1973 (age 43)[1]
Bristol, England
  • Anatomist
  • Paleopathologist
  • Osteoarchaeologist
  • Physical Anthropologist
  • Television presenter
  • Author
Institutions University of Birmingham
National Health Service
British Broadcasting Corporation
University of Wales
University of Bristol
Known for

Alice May Roberts (born 19 May 1973)[1][2] is an English anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, physical anthropologist, palaeopathologist, television presenter and author.[3][4] She is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham.

Early life and education[edit]

Roberts was born in Bristol in 1973, the daughter of an aeronautical engineer and an English and arts teacher.[5] She grew up in Westbury-on-Trym where she attended Westbury C-of-E Primary School[6][better source needed] and The Red Maids' School.[2][7][8] In December 1988 she won the BBC1 Blue Peter Young Artists competition, appearing with her picture and the presenters on the front cover of 10 December 1988 edition of the Radio Times.[9]

She was a medical student at University of Wales College of Medicine (then part of the University of Wales, now part of Cardiff University) and qualified in 1997 as a physician with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB BCh) having gained an intercalated Bachelor of Science in anatomy.[7][10][11]


After graduating in 1997, Roberts worked in clinical medicine as a junior physician with the National Health Service in South Wales for 18 months. In 1998 she left clinical medicine and worked as an anatomy demonstrator in the Anatomy Department at the University of Bristol, becoming a lecturer there in 1999.[2][7][12]

She spent seven years working part-time on her PhD in paleopathology, the study of disease in ancient human remains, receiving the degree in 2008.[2][7][13] She worked as Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol Centre for Comparative and Clinical Anatomy where her main roles were teaching clinical anatomy, embryology, and physical anthropology, as well as researching osteoarchaeology and paleopathology.[7][10][14] She stated in 2009 that she was working towards becoming a professor of anatomy.[15]

In 2009 she co-presented modules for the "Beating Bipolar" programme, the world’s first internet-based education treatment for patients with bipolar depression, trialled by Cardiff University researchers.[16]

From August 2009 until January 2012, she was a Visiting Fellow in both the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Department of Anatomy of the University of Bristol.[10][17][18]

In February 2012, Roberts took up a new post as the University of Birmingham's first Professor of Public Engagement in Science.[19][20][21]

She is currently the Director of Anatomy for the National Health Service Severn Deanery Postgraduate School of Surgery, and is also an Honorary Fellow of Hull York Medical School.[22][23]

Television career[edit]

Roberts first appeared on television in the Time Team Live 2001 episode,[24] working on Anglo-Saxon burials at Breamore, Hampshire. She has since served as a bone specialist and general presenter in many episodes, including the spin-off series Extreme Archaeology. In August 2006, the Time Team special episode Big Royal Dig investigated the archaeology of Britain's royal palaces, and Roberts was one of the main presenters for this programme. She bought an old lime green Volkswagen van from Mick Aston,[11] who was then Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Bristol and lead archaeologist of the Time Team TV series,[25] and this vehicle appeared in some episodes of Coast.[5]

Now a familiar face on British TV as a presenter on various science documentary programmes, Alice Roberts is one of the regular co-presenters of BBC geographical and environmental series Coast.[26] Roberts wrote and presented a BBC Two series on anatomy and health entitled Dr Alice Roberts: Don't Die Young, which screened from January 2007. More recently, she presented a five-part BBC Two series on human evolution and early human migrations entitled The Incredible Human Journey, beginning on 10 May 2009.[27] In September 2009, she co-presented (with Mark Hamilton) A Necessary Evil?, a one-hour documentary about the Burke and Hare murders.[28]

In August 2010 she presented a one-hour documentary on BBC Four, Wild Swimming, inspired by Roger Deakin’s book Waterlog.[29] Roberts presented a six-part BBC Two series on archaeology in August–September 2010, Digging For Britain.[30][31] Roberts explained, "We’re taking a fresh approach by showing British archaeology as it's happening out in the field, from the excitement of artefacts as they come out of the ground, through to analysing them in the lab and working out what they tell us about human history.’"[32]

In March 2011 she presented a BBC documentary in the Horizon series entitled Are We Still Evolving?[33] She presented the series Origins of Us, which aired on BBC Two in October 2011, examining how the human body has adapted through seven million years of evolution.[34] The last part of this series featured Roberts visiting the Rift Valley.

From 22 to 24 October 2012, she appeared, with co-presenter Dr George McGavin in the BBC series Prehistoric Autopsy,[35] which discussed the remains of early hominins such as Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and Australopithecus afarensis. In May and June 2013, she presented the BBC Two series Ice Age Giants.[36] In September 2014 she was a presenter on the Horizon programme Is Your Brain Male or Female?[37] In October 2014 she presented Spider House.[38] In 2015 she co-presented a 3-part BBC TV documentary with Neil Oliver, entitled The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice,[39] and wrote a book to tie in with the series: The Celts: Search for a Civilisation.[40]

Roberts has appeared on a number of BBC science programmes including the biology programme Don't Die Young and in April-May 2016 co-presented the BBC Two programme Food Detectives which looks at food nutrition and its effects on the body.

She is currently working on a television programme about bones with evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod.[citation needed]


  • In 2014 she presented the Morgan-Botti lecture.
  • Honorary doctorates (DSc) received from Royal Holloway University of London, Bournemouth University and the Open University.
  • Honorary doctor of medicine (MD) received from Sussex University.
  • Awarded British Humanist of the Year 2015, for work promoting the teaching of evolution in schools.
  • Shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2015 - for The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being.

Personal life[edit]

Roberts lives near Bristol with her husband, daughter, and son.[41] She met her husband in Cardiff in 1997 when she was a medical student and he was an archaeology student.[2][10][15][26][42] She is a pescatarian,[43] a humanist[44] and a Patron of the British Humanist Association.[45]

Roberts enjoys watercolour painting, surfing, cycling, gardening, and pub quizzes.[2] Roberts is an organiser of the Cheltenham Science Festival and school outreach programmes within the University of Bristol's Medical Sciences Division.[7] In March 2007, she hosted the Bristol Medical School's charity dance show Clicendales 2007, to raise funds for the charity CLIC Sargent.[46]

Roberts took her baby daughter with her when touring for the six-months filming of Digging for Britain.[32]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Roberts, Alice (2015). The Celts: Search for a Civilisation. Heron Books. ISBN 1784293326. 
  • Roberts, Alice (2014). The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us. Heron Books. ISBN 1-8486-6477-X. 
  • Roberts, Alice (2011). Evolution The Human Story. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 1-4053-6165-4. 
  • Roberts, Alice (2010). The Complete Human Body. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 1-4053-4749-X. 
  • Roberts, Alice (2009). The Incredible Human Journey. Bloomsbury Publishing plc. ISBN 0-7475-9839-8. 
  • Roberts, Alice (2007). Don't Die Young: An Anatomist's Guide to Your Organs and Your Health. Bloomsbury Publishing plc: London, 2007. ISBN 0-7475-9025-7. 
  • Robson-Brown, Kate; Roberts, Alice (eds.) (2007). BABAO 2004 : proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, University of Bristol. British Archaeological Reports. Oxford, England: Archaeopress. ISBN 978-1-4073-0035-1. 

Scientific articles[edit]

Roberts has also authored or co-authored a number of peer reviewed scientific articles in journals.[4][47][48][49][50]


  1. ^ a b Twitter feed by Roberts. Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "In the hot seat: Alice Roberts". 11 July 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Alice Roberts at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ a b List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Roz (27 March 2013). "TV academic Alice Roberts: 'I started as a doctor on £21,000'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Alice Roberts". Retrieved 12 November 2014. (registration required (help)). 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Staff: Dr Alice May Roberts MB BCh BSc PhD". University of Bristol. 24 April 2009. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "The Red Maids' School Celebrating 375 Years" (PDF). Then Red Maids' School. 2009. p. 2. Retrieved 20 October 2009. This conference ... will be led by former Red Maid and star of BBC's Coast, Dr Alice Roberts ... 
  9. ^ "RT 3393 - 10-16 Dec 1988 (South) BLUE PETER - 30 Years - Alice Roberts with her Blue Peter picture.". Radio Times (3393). 10 December 1988. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d "University of Bristol: Directory of Experts". University of Bristol. Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Channel 4 – Time Team biography. Channel 4.
  12. ^ Carpool web series Carpool interview. 23 May 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  13. ^ Roberts, Alice (2008). Rotator cuff disease in humans and apes: a palaeopathological and evolutionary perspective on shoulder pathology (PhD thesis). University of Bristol. 
  14. ^ "Staff summaries". University of Bristol. 31 March 2009. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
  15. ^ a b Deacon, Michael (5 May 2009). "Interview: Alice Roberts on The Incredible Human Journey". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  16. ^ "Beating Bipolar". Cardiff University. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  17. ^ "Research". Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  18. ^ "University of Bristol: Contact Directory". Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  19. ^ Dr Alice Roberts talks about her role at the University of Birmingham. YouTube. 20 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "University of Birmingham appoints Alice Roberts as first Professor of Public Engagement in Science". University of Birmingham. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Paton, Graeme (22 January 2012). "Alice Roberts hits out at science 'geeks'". The Daily Telegraph. 
  22. ^ BBC Two – Origins of Us. (31 October 2011).
  23. ^ Surgery – Home – Severn Deanery – NHS.
  24. ^ Time Team Live 2001. Channel 4.
  25. ^ "Professor Mick Aston". University of Bristol. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  26. ^ a b "The Team". Coast. BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  27. ^ BBC – Press Office – The BBC's Darwin Season press pack: BBC Two. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  28. ^ "A Necessary Evil?". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  29. ^ Wild Swimming BBC site, retrieved 14 August 2010. (12 August 2012).
  30. ^ "Digging for Britain". BBC TV website. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  31. ^ "Huge Roman coin find for hobbyist". BBC News. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  32. ^ a b Hogan, Michael (13 August 2010). "Digging for history... but it's not Time Team". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  33. ^ BBC Horizon Are We Still Evolving?. (27 August 2012).
  34. ^ Plunkett, John (18 October 2011). "Origins of Us begins with 1.78m viewers". The Guardian. London. 
  35. ^ "Prehistoric Autopsy". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  36. ^ Alex Campbell (17 May 2013). "Uncovering the secrets of North America's Ice Age giants". BBC. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  37. ^ "Alice Roberts: Boys' and girls' brains aren't so different". Radio Times. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  38. ^ "Professor Alice Roberts faces her fears". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  39. ^ "The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice". BBC. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  40. ^ Roberts, Alice (2015). The Celts: Search for a Civilisation. Heron Books. p. 320. ISBN 1784293326. 
  41. ^ Roberts, Alice. "About Me". Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  42. ^ Fowler, M., "Just Another Animal? – Dr Alice Roberts discovers how our ancestors colonised the planet." TV Choice magazine, 9–15 May 2009.
  43. ^ Brief Candle in the Dark - with Richard Dawkins. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016. I'm a vegetarian, who eats fish (29:50) 
  44. ^ New Humanist Nov/Dec 2012. (22 October 2012).
  45. ^ "Dr Alice Roberts: Anatomist, author, broadcaster and distinguished supporter of Humanism". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  46. ^ "Prof Alice Roberts". Eden TV. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  47. ^ Brown, K. R.; Silver, I. A.; Musgrave, J. H.; Roberts, A. M. (2010). "The use of μCT technology to identify skull fracture in a case involving blunt force trauma". Forensic Science International. 206 (1–3): e8–e11. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.06.013. PMID 20673617. 
  48. ^ Lockwood, A. M.; Roberts, A. M. (2007). "The anatomy demonstrator of the future: An examination of the role of the medically-qualified anatomy demonstrator in the context of tomorrow's doctors and modernizing medical careers". Clinical Anatomy. 20 (4): 455–459. doi:10.1002/ca.20427. PMID 17072876. 
  49. ^ Roberts, A. M.; Peters, T. J.; Robson Brown, K. A. (2007). "New light on old shoulders: palaeopathological patterns of arthropathy and enthesopathy in the shoulder complex". Journal of Anatomy. 211 (4): 485–492. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2007.00789.x. PMC 2375834free to read. PMID 17711424. 
  50. ^ Roberts, A. M.; Robson-Brown, K.; Musgrave, J. H.; Leslie, I. (2006). "A case of bilateral scapholunate advanced collapse in a Romano-British skeleton from Ancaster". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 16 (3): 208. doi:10.1002/oa.817. 

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