In September 2012 human remains were found by a team of archaeologists underneath a Leicester car park. On a quest of a lifetime the discovery of the bones may have found the answer to a 500-year-old mystery. Had they found King Richard III?
The program Richard III: The King in the Car Park set to air on February 4th charts the secretive path that researchers took to prove if the bones in the car park do indeed belong to Richard III. Only Channel 4 was allowed to follow the scientists conducting research on the remains and the show reveals how and why the unearthing was made.
Portrayed as a hunchback in William Shakespeare’s play and long rumored to have killed two young princes in the Tower of London, King Richard III’s unsavory reputation continues on into modern times. He is England’s last king to have died in combat at the Battle of Bosworth Field, and his demise ended the Plantagenet bloodline. Killed by a blow to the head his remains were buried a Greyfriars Church, Leicester.
Not satisfied with the portrayal of Richard III over time Philippa Langley a member of the Richard III Society began a personal search for Greyfriars Church to find Richard’s body and disprove many of the evil theories of the king. The quest united her with the University of Leicester’s Archaeology Department and their research led them to the car park – the supposed site of Greyfriars Church. Richard Buckley, Head of the University of Leicester’s Archaeology Services said, “The chance of finding Richard was, I don’t know, a million to one.” On the first day of the dig a male skeleton with a curvature to the spine and head wounds was discovered.
Since the discovery the remains have been subjected to CT scans, carbon dating, and DNA has been extracted to compare with a living descendent. The scientists conducting the research have also been working on facial reconstruction. The forensic team will be working up to the final minutes before the broadcast with the actual scenes confirming or denying the identity of King Richard III filmed only hours before the show airs.
Presented by Simon Farnby Richard III: The King in the Car Park reveals the truth February 4th on Channel 4.