Richard III: The Unseen Story (1 x 60′) – The story of how five months of archaeological and scientific detective work that led to Richard III’s body being found by an alliance of amateur enthusiasts intent upon rehabilitating Richard’s reputation, and leading archaeologists from the University of Leicester. The programme uses unseen footage and new interviews with the lead scientists to tell the story of the investigation in unprecedented detail, revealing multiple new dimensions to the hunt for England’s long-lost king.
This film looks in-depth at some of the most intensive archaeological and scientific analysis ever conducted to uncover and investigate a single individual skeleton. The project involved dozens of specialists in the fields of archaeology, osteology, history, forensic pathology, genealogy and DNA analysis. Richard III: The Unseen Story will piece together the critical steps in the archaeological excavation – revealing how the Greyfriars Church in Leicester was uncovered. It will reveal the dig’s other major finds – from the church architecture to additional human remains and reveal how the most important grave was identified – following the painstaking process of exhumation.
In the labs of the University of Leicester, the programme follows the scientists as they examine the skeleton, revealing Richard’s diet, clues to his social status and traces of the diseases he endured. A series of astonishing twists and turns in the scientific enquiry are charted – including the point at which researchers believed the skeleton could, in fact, be female. The film reveals how the doubts were dispelled, the living relatives were traced and the DNA match with Richard III was made. Piecing together CT scans and microscopic analysis the team identified the major injuries that Richard suffered in the last moments of his life and shortly afterwards.
Channel: More 4
Producer: Darlow Smithson Productions
TX: 27th February 2013
Source: Channel 4 press release