Mary-Ann Ochota, the television presenter and former model, has been named the new co-host of popular Channel 4 archaeology show Time Team. However, the programme's current presenter Mick Aston has sensationally quit the show in protest, reports the UK's Telegraph newspaper.
Aston, 65, is said to be "really angry" by changes to the format of the show, including the hiring of Ochota. In an interview with the British Archaeology magazine, Prof Aston said, "The time had come to leave. I never made any money out of it, but a lot of my soul went into it. I feel really, really angry about it". He was referring to both the introduction of Mary-Ann Ochota to present alongside Tony Robinson, and the axing of numerous archaeologists. An email to archaeologists last year from Wildfire Television said it was seeking a female co-presenter who "does not have to be overly experienced or knowledgeable as we have plenty of expertise within the existing team". Aston was left furious with this apparent move to style-over-substance and will not feature in the forthcoming 20th series, which begins filming in April 2012. In the interview, the archaeologist added, "Whatever happened, we'd all thought, we'll complete the 20th series. It feels very sad that I shan't do that. I'm not proud of Time Team, it hasn't worked".
Though known for modelling for brands such as Kellogg's, Miss Ochota does possess experience of archaeology and holds a degree in the subject from Cambridge University.