Neil qualified as an archaeologist in 1988. His fieldwork experience has covered everything from the early Stone Age in Scotland to the examination of World War II coastal fortifications of Kent and Northern France. Neil trained as a journalist working on The Scotsman, The Herald, The Guardian, The Edinburgh Evening News and The Daily Record, but it was in 2002 that his television career began. Two Men in a Trench saw Neil visit historic British battlefields and recreate the battle situation using state-of-the-art technology. Neil co-wrote two books to accompany the series.
Following this, Neil became the lead presenter on the highly acclaimed BBC2 series Coast in 2005. The program, now about to enter its tenth series, looks at both the natural and social history of the British coastline.
In 2008, Neil’s passion for his native Scotland really emerged in the landmark documentary series A History of Scotland. His next book, Amazing Tales for Making Men out of Boys, was published in the same year. Cleopatra (2009) saw Neil investigate the story of a ruthless queen and, in early 2011, Neil took viewers on a journey with A History of Ancient Britain, quickly followed by A History of Celtic Britain. Vikings (Sep 2012), was a three-part search for the truth about the Vikings, while The Last Explorers (2012) examined the legacy of four extraordinary men during the golden age of exploration.
After his first visit to Australia in 2013 to host the inaugural series of Coast Australia, Neil returned in 2014 to film a second season, and to take a behind the scenes look at The Australian War Memorial.
Neil lives in Scotland with his wife and three children.