Ready for some more BBC nostalgia? Following the carnage of last weekend’s Robot Wars (a great reboot, in my opinion) the broadcaster is turning its attention to Time Commanders. The game show, which simulated historical battles, originally aired on BBC Two — first in 2003 with a 16-episode run, then with a shorter 8-episode series in 2005. Four contestants would band together and take on different roles; one pair would act as generals while the other co-ordinated troops on the ground. Throughout the show, a group of historians would analyse the team’s moves and compare the outcome to what happened in real life.
Each simulation was based on Rome: Total War, a strategy role-playing game developed by The Creative Assembly. The British studio will be returning to help with the new series — it confirmed as much on Twitter — although it’s not clear exactly which game will be adapted. (Probably not Total War: Warhammer.) The new series will be produced by Lion Television and shown on BBC Four. The premiere date is a mystery, however you can apply to be a contestant up until September 1st, indicating that the show is still in a pre-production stage.
The return of Time Commanders! Think you have the strategic expertise to redefine history in front of a TV audience? https://t.co/ooTNnMTu05
— Total War (@totalwar) July 26, 2016
Given its long hiatus, the BBC is tweaking the show’s format slightly. Two teams of three will now appear in each episode, taking on a simulation pre-programmed by the show’s historical experts. They’ll then face each other in “one of history’s biggest battles,” presumably crowing some kind of victor each week. Honestly, we can’t wait. Time Commanders was a refreshing blend of historical documentary and game show, with Total War serving as a solid foundation. The RTS franchise has, of course, evolved since then, meaning new episodes should look and feel more immersive.