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Richard Herring receives BAJR Trowel Award

July 10, 2008

A few years ago we went to see a play at the Edinburgh Fringe called Excavating Rita by the comedian Richard Herring.  It was very funny and certainly touched a nerve among professional archaeologists.  It has apparently never been performed again but deserves to be (much better than Bonekickers).  So BAJR decided to award Richard the WHS Trowel Award.  Read below his touching message about receiving this award.  If you want to read the Excavating Rita script go to:

In a week where I am suddenly getting the feeling that the tide is turning for me and I may be about to get the recognition I deserve (which isn’t much more recognition than I currently get, but is slightly more recognition), I have been given a sort of award. The archaeologists of the British Archaelogical Jobs Resource in East Lothian have found my play Excavating Rita on this very website and have seemingly agreed that is an accurate and amusing portrayal of their profession and have sent me a trowel to mark my success. It’s not every day that you get a trowel through the post. In fact many people will live their lives and never get a trowel through the post. I doubt it will happen to me again. But I have at least had one. It is very touching, though slightly typically for me, it has taken well over a decade for the play to get any kind of nod of approval. But I am not knocking it. One of the good things about this website is that I can put up a lot of my old work, which means there is a chance of someone other than my band of 200 dwarf/hobbit nerds noticing that I am actually OK at my job! Excavating Rita is, I think, my most potentially commercial play and it’s a shame that nothing happened with it after Edinburgh 1996. Although one drama society did put it on. They were in Scotland too. I obviously strike some kind of nerve with our porridge eating, shortbread crumb covered neighbours. Oh yeah, I certainly understand the Scotch. And the Scotch love everything about me. Especially the way I insist on calling them Scotch. They pretend they don’t like it, but they do. How many trowels have I been sent from the other nations of the world? If you add all of the non-Scotch trowels together, they are still outnumbered by the Scotch ones.

But it means a lot to me that professional diggers “dig” my play (do you get it?). And my trowel will take pride of place in my trophy cabinet, along with my Daily Telegraph Worst Comedy Experience of 2005 award (which doesn’t even exist) and my Winner medal from the celebrity Boat Race and Stewart Lee’s Chortle award for best comedy show 2007, which I picked up on his behalf and then refused to give back to him, writing my name on it in Tippex.

How many trowels has Stewart Lee won though?

Two, as it happens. The Scotch love him even more than they like me. He calls them Scotch too. Proving my point.

It also gives me the option to actually get back down on my hands and knees on site and do some bloody archaeology. You never know. I might just do that. Thanks very much to the BAJR for the nod. Who needs BAFTA when you’ve got the BAJR.

And the other good or bad news depending on your perspective is that the final Lyric autumn gig has already sold out. The other two are selling extremely well too. So don’t leave it til the last minute. I am very hopeful that we can turn these evenings into regular sell out events!

And if is still down, you can buy tickets for my Edinburgh show at the Underbelly site. Right enough showing off. Tomorrow must surely bring me a smack in the face that will send me falling like a tubby Icarus back to earth.

To donate to the Edinburgh programme fund, please visit

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