Saturday, July 13, 2024

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The Dig on Netflix: the Suffolk Gazette’s crucial role in the Sutton Hoo discovery


As The Dig launches on Netflix, the Suffolk Gazette can today reveal the extraordinary role it played in finding the Sutton Hoo treasure back in 1939.

Our founding editor, Arthur Aspall, was meandering home after a heavy night in the pub when, overcome with fatigue, he stopped on a small mound in a field to take a nap.

He was still out of it when landowner Edith Pretty found him the next morning. Knowing Mr Aspall had to update his website with the latest Suffolk pig prices, she awoke him and offered him a lift to the Suffolk Gazette offices.

But it was only then that she noticed the mound that had been our former editor’s rather large pillow for the night.

Mr Aspall suggested she ask his friend and drinking partner, Basil Brown (played in The Dig by Ralph Fiennes) to investigate what was there.

It was only then that the 7th-century burial ship, thought to be the grave of King Raedwald of East Anglia, was discovered.

Ralph Fiennes in The Dig
Ralph Fiennes plays basil Brown in The Dig (Photo: Netflix)

The Sutton Hoo treasure is one of the most important ever finds.

Suffolk Gazette historian Lorraine Fisher, 34, said the fundamental role the website played in the Sutton Hoo discovery back in 1939 had been kept under wraps. Until now.

“Unfortunately, the scriptwriters of The Dig did not want to include our drunken editor’s role in the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure.

“But we never forget it. Our present editor also binge drinks and wanders around fields late at night, trying to find his way home. We like to keep traditions going.”

Fans of The Dig adore the Suffolk accents in the film. The Suffolk Gazette has its own How to Talk Suffolk mug – you can buy it from our Dirty Old Goat website, via the product description below this preview of the film…

Ms Fisher said Suffolk Gazette archives showed former editor Mr Aspall, who died of liver complications in 1956, was given the exclusive story about the treasure find.

But he spent too long in the pub on deadline day and got scooped by the East Anglian Daily Times.

“He never got over missing out on the big story, even though it was him that kicked it all off,” lamented Ms Fisher.

Buy our mugs – a real treasure trove

Our Suffolk Gazette mugs will be worth millions one day. Make sure you own one, but don’t go burying it in your back garden – use it to drink tea or coffee. Browse mugs on our Dirty Old Goat mugs website – or direct from the items below…

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