The Future of History

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Shakespeare's Tomb

Well, the wait is nearly over.  Channel 4 TV started showing a trailer, this evening, for the forthcoming documentary, Shakespeare's Tomb.  You can view the trailer here.

So a tense few days lie ahead.  What do we know?  Well, judging by the trailer, the team from Arrow Media and the University of Staffordshire spent quite a bit of time in the vault beneath the Sheldon Chapel at Beoley, and then working with Caroline Wilkinson (University of Dundee) on some sort of analysis of the laser scan that was made of the skull when the team were in the vault.

(Incidentally, the documentary producer tried to convince me that they really weren't devoting much time or attention to the Beoley skull, and I was asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to stop me mentioning that Caroline Wilkinson was involved in the programme.)

Elsewhere, the Telegraph recently revealed that Shakespeare's grave is to be subjected to a high-tech laser scan - apparently, a follow-up to the scan performed last year, the results of which will be revealed in the Channel 4 documentary (one instantly wonders what the "initial" scan failed to reveal).  So something's afoot.

Anyway, the Shakespeare's Tomb documentary will be aired in the UK this Saturday - 26 March 2016 - at 8.00pm.  Regular readers of this blog will recognise the skull in the vault at Beoley, and will probably have some idea of the background to the documentary.  More background to the story is currently being researched - and some interesting things have already been found. 

But for those who don't know much about the background, and why the only researcher ever to have studied the skull and published his findings was excluded from the Channel 4 documentary, allow me to include this link to an interview I did with Julia Robb in Texas, which lifts the lid on some rather shifty behaviour.

Watch this space ...

(PS: just in case link to the trailer does not work, here's another one.)


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  2. You might be interested in this piece on the Telegraph's website, which reveals that the Beoley skull is not that of the Bard but belonged to a seventy-year-old woman. This is part of the C4 publicity ahead of Saturday's programme.

    1. Thanks for that, Paul. In the absence of DNA evidence (the application for which was turned down by the Church authorities) it cannot really be confirmed either way.

      What I find more interesting - apart from the apparent proof that the grave at Holy Trinity was disturbed - are the numerous correspondences between the skull and the Shakespeare portraiture. These have been identified by a research fellow and research student in biological anthropology, and taken en masse they point either to a truly extraordinary set of coincidences or the need for further laboratory study of the skull.

      Kevin Colls seems convinced that the skull was stolen and is still out there, somewhere (and I understand that further tests of the Holy Trinity grave are pending). So, until I can find a convincing explanation for the number of very precise similarities between the skull and the portraiture, the case remains open.

      Very best,