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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Much better Richard III documentary on More4

I greatly enjoyed the "Richard III: the Unseen Story" which premiered tonight on More4, (this is repeated on Saturday 2 March on More4 at 9pm if you missed it!). Much of the programme was rehashed but it was almost as if they had taken on board my criticisms of the original programme, the histrionics of the President of the Richard III society, Phillippa Langley, had been cut right out this time and the programme correctly concentrated on the actual archaeology of the find. The same presenter, Simon Farnaby, came across better in this revised documentary, with the unfortunate intended (?) comedic elements (we are not presenting Horrible Histories now!) totally absent this time. It was fascinating to look in detail at the historic and archaeological research which led to them digging several trenches in the car park of Leicester's Social services department. The whole team are to be congratulated on a stunning magnificent find. I was fascinated hearing about the maternal mitocondrial DNA testing used, hand in hand, with historic genealogical research, confirming that Canadian born furniture maker Mr Michael Ibsen, was a greatX nephew of King Richard III. However, I was surprised to see the Osteo- Archaeologist, Dr Jo Appleby, use a pick axe to rather heavy handedly excavate the immediate site despite leg bones being found in close proximity to the area she was excavating, leading to a very unfortunate piecing of Richard III's skull, with the pick axe!! Surely a more careful approach was warranted?? Also, I thought it would have been far better not to reveal the suspected identity of the skull to a face reconstruction artist to counter any suggestions of bias in the facial results.

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