ITV Sets Premiere Date For ‘Tutankhamun’ Miniseries

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ITV’s four-part miniseries Tutankhamun, starring Max Irons (The White Queen) and Sam Neill (Alcatraz), will premiere on Sunday October 16th at 9pm, it has been announced.

Tutankhamun opens in 1905 when Carter (Irons), in his early-20s, is fervently leading an expedition. He has an easy manner with the Egyptian men who work alongside him, but when tempers fray Carter is hot-headed and puts the dig and his career in jeopardy. With his license to dig revoked, Carter spends years ostracised, dishevelled and living rough. A chance meeting with British aristocrat Lord Carnarvon (Neil) brings a change of fortunes. 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.

The four-part event series wa penned by Jekyll & Hyde and The Bletchley Circle scribe Guy Burt and is set up at ITV Studios. The Body Farm’s Simon Lewis is serving as the series producer, while Hannibal Rising Peter Webber is the director. The executive producers are Francis Hopkinson and Catherine Oldfield. Amy Wren, Catherine Steadman, Jonathan Aris, Anthony Higgins, Rupert Vansittart, Vincent Grass, Nicolas Beaucaire, Waleed Elgadi and Martin Hutson also star.

TVWise’s UK Premiere Dates page has been updated with this new information.

  • Just read the Press Release. For the sake of historical accuracy – which will be sacrificed in this romp – Howard Carter was not “ in his mid 20s” in 1905, he was aged 31 ( born in 1874). That is forgiveable enough to enhance the story line of a sexed up TV drama that only sees itself as a successor to Downton Abbey and takes up its old Sunday night slot. At least Julian Fellowes changed the names of the real people involved for to caress the facts and almost got away with creating believable fictional history. That is not a good thing in itself to mock history. This Maggie Lewis of the Metropolitan Museum, New York is another sexed up character, there were notable female archaeologists but the Met was largely an all male bastion. In 1905 Carter was an Egyptian Government Inspector of Antiquities, he did not need ‘digging rights’, he was both poacher and game keeper! Maggie’s real life historical base ( from the jist of things outlined and the time scale) is Theodore M Davis, a lawyer millionaire that Carter worked for and who did find the funerary relics of Tutankhamun thanks to Carter’s spark. Not enough parts for women, although Lady Evelyn Herbert, the Carnarvon daughter makes a dramatic early appearance, she never went to Egypt until 1920, when she was 19. Carter was never destitute or starved or was on his uppers . After he resigned from the Antiquities Service in Oct 1905 ( following an affray at Sakkarah, the sacred site of the Stepped Pyramid ) , he managed to get a number of freelance assignments. Carter’s quest to find the tomb is a great story and it would not have been possible unless the two odd ball figures of expert and patron had joined forces. Carter and Lord Carnarvon knew of each other on the black market circles in antiquities as tomb robber ( Carter) and buyer ( Carnarvon). It was a perfect arrangement and there was a relationship of importance between them in and out of the sand dunes. Carnarvon’s wife Almina, Countess of Carnarvon stumped up the finance from her access to Rothschild coffers. Sadly I don’t see Almina listed in the cast. That is an omission. Perhaps the most sloppy references is the date given for the discovery of the tomb of the boy King of 1921. The first step leading down to the tomb was discovered by an unsung water boy on 6 November 1922. One hopes for better.