BLACKADDER actor Tony Robinson has officially opened the new-look Jorvik Viking Centre in York after a £1 million refit.

The showpiece of the nine-month renovation is the glass-floor gallery where visitors can marvel at a recreation of the Viking relics that were found on the Coppergate site, excavated between 1976 and 1981.

The exhibition, which charts the history of Norse colonies in the city, also features seven new life-like Viking animatronics which have been shipped in from specialists in the US.

Mr Robinson, presenter of Channel 4’s archaeology programme Time Team, said: “I love it.

“When the centre opened it was at the cutting edge, and what this new exhibition has shown is that it’s continued to stay at the cutting edge.”

He praised the role of the museum.

He said: “It is important for York and more generally because we could lose all the archaeology that’s still under the ground.

“A new generation of children have to learn to have respect and love for their heritage.” The actor was part of the Time Team crew that carried out excavations in York in 1999 for the Channel 4 programme.

He said: “There’s so much history here. I’d love to come back and do more.

“I’d love to find a boat burial in someone’s back garden. That would be my dream.”

The museum’s reopening kicked off festivities to mark the 25th annual Jorvik Viking Festival.

More than 150 schoolchildren from five York schools started the merriment yesterday, leading a colourful theatre and dance procession through the city. Celebrations will continue throughout the week including hands-on sword-combat sessions, buried-treasure hunts, stage fighting and Viking crafts, culminating in a dramatic reconstruction of a battle at York Racecourse on Saturday which will include an exciting fire display.

Information can be found at • The adult price for entry to Jorvik mentioned in our feature on the newly reopened museum on Thursday was the reduced price that was available only while the refurbishment was taking place. The correct price is £8.95 for an adult.