ITV commissions new drama Tutankhamun

New drama chronicles the personal journey to the tomb of Tutankhamun

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ITV has commissioned a new four-part epic drama, Tutankhamun, about the story of British archaeologist Howard Carter’s long journey to the discovery of the tomb of Ancient Egypt’s boy-king, Tutankhamun.

Written by Guy Burt (Jekyll and Hyde, The Bletchley Circle), and set against Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the story unfolds from 1905 when Carter, who we meet in his early 20’s, is fervently leading an expedition with a grim determination to find lost antiquities only too apparent. When the hot-headed Carter’s license to dig is 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.

Tutankhamun is produced by ITV Studios and directed by Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Hannibal Rising).

Executive Producer Catherine Oldfield (Home Fires, Collision), said: “This is a fascinating and compelling story with real historical significance.  It’s based on true events and reveals how Carter desperately tries to persuade his patron (Carnarvon) to continue to bankroll the excavation. Ultimately it’s the story of what happens when you stake everything on one last roll of the dice.”

ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, said: “Tutankhamun is a story of epic proportions,” said Steve. “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 will begin filming in South Africa during the winter of 2015 and early part of 2016.