Richard III:The Unseen Story (2013)
Documentary · 27 February 2013
In this special follow-up programme, the only television team with access to the dig and the scientific tests on the skeleton uses unseen footage and conducts two days of additional interviews to tell this extraordinary forensic detective story in even greater scientific and archaeological detail. Trawling through the footage in detail and in full, the programme explains how the discovery of Richard III was made, from the first cut in the ground to the final DNA analysis. It pieces together the critical steps in the archaeological excavation - explaining how the significance of the skeleton was first recognized. It then follows the painstaking exhumation of Richard's grave. In the labs of Leicester University, the programme then follows the scientists as they clean, CT scan and examine the skeleton, closing in on his identity and learning new details about the skeleton. Along the way we discover a series of astonishing twists and turns in the scientific enquiry. At one point researchers believed the skeleton could in fact be female. The film then reveals how the doubts were dispelled, how the living relatives were traced and how the DNA match with Richard III was made. Perhaps the most harrowing stage of the project was the minute forensic examination of the cause of death. Piecing together CT scans, the team identified the major injuries that Richard suffered in the last moments of his life and shortly afterwards. With his hands bound, his body was bundled into a hastily prepared grave. And there it lay, lost for over 500 years, until a team of archaeologists made the find of the century.
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