Christopher Frayling, Howard Carter, and Victorian Horror

Posted: 9 May 2012 in books, life, television
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Howard Carter 2012

Today the latest Google doodle celebrates the 138th birthday of Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. There’s a great article here from the Guardian on the doodle and Howard Carter. The tale of Carter, Lord Carnarvon, the discovery of the tomb, and the so-called “curse of the pharaohs”  has always fascinated me – as does much history in general.

Possibly the best programme I have ever seen on the subject was Christopher Frayling’s The Face of Tutankhamen back in (blimey!) 1992. Frayling is so British throughout and manages to keep his calm when lesser humans would have lost their temper, for instance when seeing an Egyptian museum restoration “expert” making a complete pig’s ear of repairing a statue and actually leaving it worse off than before she got hold of it.

Once upon a time I had the entire five part series on VHS after recording it upon transmission. But that tape is long lost. And like so many programmes I have watched and enjoyed it’s not available on DVD, or even YouTube. I recall it was repeated on a New Years Day on BBC3 or BBC4 many many moons ago. With luck it may resurface one day so that I can enjoy it once again…

Also on my list of “want-to-haves” is Frayling’s “Nightmare: Birth of Horror”, a four part series examining horror novels and how they have been turned into modern myths. Dracula, FrankensteinStrange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Hound of the Baskervilles are the novels examined.

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