In Search Of Myths And Heroes Queen Of Sheba at 8 pm
In his first journey, Michael Wood looks for the Queen of Sheba, one of the world’s most famous fascinating heroines. She’s been portrayed as goddess, demon, femme fatale – but did she really exist? The myth of Sheba takes Wood on a quest for clues around the Red Sea, from Egypt to Eritrea and Ethiopia and on to the earliest civilization of Arabia in Yemen to reveal the surprising truth behind the legend.
Secrets of the Dead Ultimate Tut at 9 pm
Ninety years ago in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the greatest archaeological find in history was made: the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and its golden treasures. But the real story has become shrouded in myth — with many mysteries around the tomb unsolved to this day. This two-hour special combines the latest evidence from a team of archaeologists, anatomists, geologists and Egyptologists to build the ultimate picture of Tutankhamen. Blending 3D graphics, stylized reconstruction and action-adventure forensic investigation to take a 21st-century approach to ancient history, following new scientific research and presenting fresh insights into how Tutankhamen was buried, why his tomb was the only one to remain intact and the enduring enigma around how he died.
In Search Of Myths And Heroes Arthur: The Once & Future King at 8 pm
In the second segment, Wood explores the greatest British myth: the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Traveling around the Celtic world from Cornwall to Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland, Wood uncovers the extraordinary story of how a shadowy Welsh freedom fighter – a Dark Age Che Guevara – became a medieval superman and, finally, the model of a Christian hero. On the way, viewers discover the real stories behind the Round Table, Excalibur and the Holy Grail itself: the unattainable, mystical cup of Christ, which has inspired poets, novelists and filmmakers from the Middle Ages right down to Indiana Jones, Monty Python and The Da Vinci Code. In an intriguing piece of historical detective work, Wood offers a tantalizing glimpse of a historical Arthur – but in the unlikeliest of places.
Secrets Of The Tower Of London at 9:59 pm
Standing guard over the city of London for nearly 1000 years, this formidable fortress has been a royal castle, a prison, a place of execution and torture, an armory and the Royal Mint. Over the centuries it has gone from a symbol of imperialism and tyranny to a national treasure- the protector of the crown jewels and many other historic British traditions. This program goes behind the Tower’s ancient walls, opening it up to expose its secrets and stories.
The third of Michael Wood’s historical journeys takes viewers on a thrilling trek through India, Nepal and Tibet in search of Shangri-La.The tale of the magical valley hidden behind the Himalayas was popularized in the 1930s movie Lost Horizon, but the myth of a secret earthly paradise is much older. To find the truth behind the legend, Wood travels on foot through some of the world’s most sacred mountains before finally reaching the fantastic ruins of a lost city, which he believes is the real inspiration behind the myth.
Secrets of the Dead Bones of the Buddha at 9:59 pm
This show is a modern day Indiana Jones story: a tale of deception, treasure, intrepid adventurers and international realpolitik. Did a 19th-century British landowner really discover gold, jewels and the charred bones of the Lord Buddha in an underground chamber on his estate in Northern India in 1898? Doubt and scandal have hung over this amazing find for over 100 years.
The Greeks have given the world its greatest body of myths, including the myth of Jason, an epic tale of the hero’s quest and the ancestor of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Jason is presented with a “mission impossible”: to sail into the unknown to find the Golden Fleece. He is saved by the priestess Medea and her magical arts, but her love comes at a high price. A fairy tale? Or was there a real voyage? Wood heads from Greece to the wild mountains of the Caucasus to find the truth behind the Jason legend.
Helen Of Troy at 9 pm
Bettany Hughes travels across the eastern Mediterranean on an epic journey to find out the truth about Helen of Troy, known as “the face that launched a thousand ships.” She has been blamed for causing the Trojan War, a conflict that resulted in countless deaths. During her own voyage in Helen’s wake, Bettany Hughes sorts the reality from the myths told about Helen. She travels from the city where it is said Helen was born – Sparta in the mountains of Greece – to the archaeological site in modern Turkey that will be forever linked with the war fought in Helen’s name: Troy.