Accordingly to the tagline of The X-Files "the truth is out there".

Which indeed it is ... it's just finding it that creates the issue.

Especially if the article of truth, or explanation, is from an era long past.

From a time when people did not write in the style or prose that we do today, with many civilisations preferring to tell their stories, and "truths", by carving or painting pictures.


The Egyptians were very good at this.

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No one could draw a cat as effectively as an Egyptian storyteller.

However, it takes a skilled archeologist and historian boffin to come up with an effective method of decoding the symbols and patterns the ancient Egyptian graffiti clans applied to the walls of tombs, places of homage to the gods and the admission gates to the pyramids ... they had to pay for them somehow although that's just my thinking.

Many cultures did however put pen to paper, or whatever those parchment materials actually were in those days when at half time the teams got just five minutes and a couple of wedges of orange.

None of this namby 15-minutes back in the dry confines of the dressing room where physios, dressers and waiters await.

I suspect I have veered off the path I initially chose to take with this television journey but then that's what the mystique of ancient times and artworks can do to a soul.

I remember back in the '70s wandering through the great blocks of stone which stand in a strange sort of circle under the banner of Stonehenge.


You could go right up to them back then and pat them, although as one old chap also patting the great monoliths said "don't try and chip any souvenirs off them ... those who first stood under them will see to you in a most dreadful way".

Good enough for me, so a couple of snaps with the old Instamatic it was.

Being there, so close to those huge and remarkable slabs of stone, was quite surreal.

You genuinely wondered how did they get the top spars up there, let along stand the vertical pieces into place.

And you wondered why they (the druids) had them built ... because they didn't teach those stories to you at school and you were more interested in reading motorcycle and music magazines instead of historical tomes.

Start digging and you discover there were other civilisations, totally unknown to each other, who also built gathering places within a ring of huge stones.

Something was going on.

Did the aliens from that obscure galaxy travel the continents giving the heads-up?

"Build big stone circles chaps ... much easier for us to spot from 3000 feet."

I suspect I have again veered off the path I initially chose to take with this television journey but then that's what the ... ahh, you know the rest.

However, that journey into the long-passed past, and the secrets it possesses, is what the documentary series which sparked up last Monday on Choice is all about.

It is simply called Treasures Decoded, although that tends to imply they have indeed uncovered all the treasures these mysterious things contain.

Which surely would have solved the great "meaning of life" riddle wouldn't it?

But the experts and researchers and scientists and scholars and archaeologists do come up with some answers, but as with the case of the golden raft of El Dorado, not actual golden treasure.

Despite the show's wordsmiths declaring that "no stone is left unturned in search of answers" and that they engaged the services of "state of the art" forensics.

Sometimes there are just too many stones I guess ... especially if there's a few tonnes of gold buried underneath them ... somewhere.

During this series the decoding crews will dig into bewildering treasures like the Shroud of Turin, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Blackbeard's pirate ship.

And one slice is tagged The Death Cult of the Sphinx ... which I originally thought was the name of a death metal band from Germany.

Never too old to learn.

There's another great line on the show's information front which declares "mind-blowing truth for the first time" — which kind of takes things a bit far and leaves you wondering if at some stage they will actually mention ... UFOs?

I hope not, although that would certainly be a tad mind-blowing.

So would be seeing ABBA performing at the local park but there are some things which just can't be achieved, no matter how many stones are not left unturned.

Treasures Decoded, Choice at 8.30 tonight: I doubt this series has uncovered anything truly remarkable and "mind-blowing" but in terms of engaging with some mysterious slices of humankind's history it does have an element of intrigue about it.

Another one of those documentary series which appears then disappears ... until the scheduling stones are unturned in a few months and it mysteriously appears again.


Duck Quacks Don't Echo, Duke at 7.30pm Thursday: Lee Mack is part of a highly entertaining funny family which has formed in Blighty over the past decade.

A clan which also involves the likes of Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr, Alun Davies and David Mitchell. When Mack, Carr and Mitchell appear on the same bill during shows like Would I Lie to You the result is, quite simply, unforgettable ... and unmissable.

This intriguing comic interlude which focuses on strange truths is steered by Mack, and he steers it with slick, sharp humour.

And when a familiar guest with equally slick and sharp opinions fronts up it is a little treasure ... and easily decoded.

Japandemonium, TV2 at 9pm Friday: It would be fair to say that when a Japanese television production company wants to create a show, or an image, which is out of the ordinary, they do not do things by halves.

If they come across a deceased and stagnating eel they will ask someone to bite it in half.

If there are people waiting quietly at a station platform for their train then they will get someone to creep up behind them and scream ... just to get some facial reaction.

It is indeed pandemonium in Japan, and these excerpts make anything we create "out of left field" look positively angelic.