Neil Oliver

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the English footballer, see Neil Oliver (footballer).
For the Australian politician, see Neil Oliver (politician).
Neil Oliver
Neil Oliver at Windsor Quay (cropped).jpg
Oliver in 2006
Born (1967-02-21) 21 February 1967 (age 50)
Renfrewshire, Scotland[1]
Nationality Scottish
Occupation Television presenter, author, archaeologist
Years active 2002–present

Neil Oliver (born 21 February 1967) is a Scottish television presenter, archaeologist and author. He is best known as a presenter of several BBC documentary series, including A History of Scotland, Vikings and Coast. His long hair is a distinguishing feature.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Oliver was born in Renfrewshire and grew up in Ayr and Dumfries where he attended Dumfries Academy. He then attended the University of Glasgow to study archaeology.[1]. He subsequently worked as a reporter on the Annandale Observer in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway.


Oliver's television debut came in 2002 with BBC Two's Two Men in a Trench, which featured Oliver and close friend, Tony Pollard, visiting historic British battlefields and recreating the battle situations using state of the art archaeological techniques. In addition to the TV series, Oliver co-wrote the two accompanying books.

In 2005, he wrote a tie-in book for the Channel 4 documentary, Not Forgotten, which was presented by Ian Hislop. Oliver then became the archaeological and social history expert on Coast and in the next series he replaced Nicholas Crane as the show's main presenter and remained as such for the third and fourth series.

In 2006 Oliver appeared in two more documentary series, Channel 4's The Face of Britain and BBC Two's Scotland's History: The Top Ten. In August 2006 he also appeared on the special "Big Royal Dig" edition of Channel 4's Time Team, in which he presented a dig at Holyrood Palace.

Oliver was a contributor to BBC One's The One Show in the summer of 2007. He also appeared that year as one of the presenters of BBC Two series The History Detectives.

Oliver's series A History of Scotland began airing on 9 November 2008 on BBC One Scotland and was broadcast throughout the UK in 2009. The series also has links to radio, online and Open University materials. Like Coast, the programme is a co-production of the BBC and the Open University.[3]

On 23 March 2009, Neil Oliver presented a programme on Cleopatra on BBC One.

In February 2011 he presented A History of Ancient Britain on BBC Two.[4] This was followed later in the year by A History of Celtic Britain. He also provided the voice over for VisitScotland's 2011 television advertisement.[5] Oliver also hosted The Last Explorers, a four-episode series retracing the expeditions of four Scottish explorers (David Livingstone, William Speirs Bruce, John Muir, and Thomas Blake Glover) who planted ideas rather than flags, that screened on BBC for four weeks from 24 November 2011.

Oliver presented the three-part series Vikings 11 September 2012 – 25 September 2012.

Oliver presented the three-part series Sacred Wonders of Britain for BBC Two and Coast Australia, aired in 2013–14.

In 2015, he presented Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster: Quintinshill about the Quintinshill rail disaster which took place in 1915

In 2015 he co-presented a 3-part BBC TV documentary with Alice Roberts, entitled "The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice",[6] and the following year continued his Coast series with Coast New Zealand.

Neil Oliver also presented a BBC documentary called Scotland and the Klan, highlighting the Scottish/Northern Irish foundations of the Klu Klux Klan, originally aired in October 2016.

In December 2016, Oliver was involved in episode 2 of the Celebrity Series of Robot Wars, creating a robot called Soldier Ant with the drivers of finalist in the previous series Shockwave, and he drove it with his children. It won one game, on a judges decision, but lost the other 2 on knockout and was eliminated. [7]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Stirling[8] with his wife Trudi and their three children.[9]

He is a patron of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.[10]

In November 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Abertay Dundee[11]


In May 2014, Oliver stated in an interview with the Herald, that he was "proud of Britain" and noted his dislike of the upcoming Scottish independence referendum saying that he found "this kind of internecine squabbling puts my teeth on edge. I would rather that it would just go away – or that it had never happened." He went on to say that he "liked the status quo."[12]


  • Master of Shadows (2015)
  • Vikings (2012)
  • A History of Ancient Britain (2011)
  • A History of Scotland (2009)
  • Amazing Tales for Making Men Out of Boys (2008)
  • Coast from the Air (2007)
  • Not Forgotten (2006)
  • Castles and Forts (with Simon Adams and Tony Pollard) (2006)
  • Two Men in a Trench II: Uncovering the Secrets of British Battlefields (with Tony Pollard) (2003)
  • Two Men in a Trench: Battlefield Archaeology – The Key to Unlocking the Past (with Tony Pollard) (2002)


External links[edit]