Robin Bush, born at Hayes, Middlesex in 1943, was the resident historian for the first nine series of Channel 4's archaeology series Time Team, appearing in 39 episodes between 1994 to 2003. He also presented eight episodes of Time Team Extra in 1998.
His father was originally a schoolmaster and then a training college lecturer in Mathematics. Bush attended Exeter School in Devon between 1950 to 1962, and it was here aged 13 that he first became interested in historical research while studying the school's history. His first two research papers were published by the Devonshire Association before he left school. He won a Trevelyan Scholarship, followed by a Stapledon Exhibition and later still a State Scholarship, to read History at Exeter College, Oxford (1962–65), taking his BA in Modern History in 1965 and an MA in 1984. Among his contemporaries at Oxford were the broadcaster Craig Raine, the journalist Tariq Ali, the Marquess of Hartington and the psephologist Professor Ivor Crewe. A keen amateur actor, he also appeared on stage with Monty Python actor Terry Jones.
In 1965 he was appointed assistant archivist at Surrey Record Office at Kingston-on-Thames before moving to Somerset Record Office in 1967 where he spent the rest of his working life. From 1970 to 1978 Bush was assistant editor of the Victoria History of Somerset, writing much of the content of three of its volumes. Later he returned to the Record Office as Deputy County Archivist until taking early retirement in 1993.
Bush wrote his first book in 1977, and produced volumes on the history of Taunton, Exmouth and Wellington, followed by a series of books on the county of Somerset. He researched emigration from the South West of England to New England between 1620 to 1645, which led to the publication of three further books in Ohio. Bush has made six speaking tours to the United States, during one of which he met President George Bush at the White House. In 1987 he explained Somerset's archives to HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. From 1984 to 1996 he had a weekly spot on BBC Radio Bristol and then BBC Somerset, on which he told stories of local history and folklore.
Bush became involved with the Time Team programmes through his long friendship with Mick Aston when Aston was Somerset's first county field archaeologist. Aston had previously discussed the idea of devising an archaeological television programme with Tony Robinson, and a pilot episode was set up. Through helping to devise the programme's format with producer Tim Taylor, Bush was invited to take part in the pilot which was shot at Dorchester-on-Thames in October 1992. Although the pilot programme was never screened, the idea was good enough to persuade Channel 4 to commission a four programme series of Time Team, which was filmed in 1993 and broadcast the following year. Bush also appeared Channel 4's series Joe Public, for which he researched the loss of a hat jewel by Henry VIII.
As a solo presenter Bush filmed a series of six half-hour programmes entitled The West at War, which examined the impact of war on the South West of England from Roman times to the present day for ITV Westcountry.
Bush is married with two children. He performs regularly in amateur dramas, musicals and grand opera productions throughout West Somerset, and is president of Taunton Operatic Society. In 1991, 1994 and 1997 he helped to judge the grand finals of the World Public Speaking and Debating Championships.
Since May 1997 Bush has served as a Liberal Democrat county councillor for Somerset, sitting as vice chairman of the County's Information and Leisure Board, and is also a member of the Education Committee and the Countryside and Heritage Board, with special responsibility for museums.