ITV has commissioned an epic new mini-series based on the story of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Written by Guy Burt (Jekyll and Hyde, The Bletchley Circle), Tutankhamun will focus on the personal story of Carter, “a solitary man on the edge of society who became an iconic figure and an unlikely hero”.
Executive producer Francis Hopkinson (Home Fires, Jekyll and Hyde) commented: “Howard Carter’s discovery of the lost tomb of Tutankhamun is legendary. His all-consuming, obsessive search for the tomb pushed his friendship with Lord Carnarvon to the brink, whilst the adventurous and extrovert aristocrat poured his inheritance into the excavation.”
ITV’s Director of Drama, Steve November added: “Tutankhamun is a story of epic proportions. Against the backdrop of World War One, conflict, murder, corruption, romance and the unlikeliest of friendships, Tutankhamun sees Howard Carter’s determination pay off in spectacular style when he discovers one of the greatest archaeological treasures of the modern world.”
Tutankhamun begins filming in South Africa this winter, directed by Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Hannibal Rising).
The official synopsis reads: “Set against the great sweep of ochre sands, looming cliffs and baking heat of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the story unfolds from 1905 when Carter, an eminent British archaeologist who we meet in his early 20’s, is fervently leading an expedition. Amidst the chaos scattered across the Valley floor, Carter’s grim determination to find lost antiquities is only too apparent. He has an easy manner with the Egyptian men who work alongside him, but when tempers fray Carter is hotheaded and puts the dig and his career in jeopardy.
“With his license to dig revoked by Cairo’s Antiquities Service, Carter spends years ostracised, dishevelled and living rough and resorting to selling previously discovered archaeological relics to buy food.
“A chance meeting with British aristocrat, the very dashing, suave and eccentric Lord Carnarvon, brings a change of fortunes as the enthusiastic amateur needs an experienced archaeologist to help him with a series of random excavations. Carter and Carnarvon begin the most unlikely friendship, in spite of their differences of background and character. Privileged and fast living, Carnarvon keeps faith with Carter and continues to back him when no one else will. After years of searching for the tomb, Carter and Carnarvon successfully discover the last resting place of the boy-king in 1921 against all odds and at great personal expense.”
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