Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Next stop - Euston Station
We settled back last night to watch the Channel 4 'documentary' on the digging-up of Richard the Third under the letter 'R' painted on the tarmac of a municipal car park in Leicester.
The very first thing that struck me was the striking resemblance his re-constructed face had to the sons of a friend of ours (she has three sons and three daughters), and I know that modern forensic sculptors are uncannily accurate in their portrayals.
The next (and probably biggest) thing was the spectacularly fortunate fact that the very first trench they dug was directly over the body, and as it transpired, the body was indeed that of Richard. Normally, a search for a grave like this might start off in an area of about several hundred square yards at least, but in this case they went straight to the exact spot and started digging. They even had some footage of the lady (whose name I have forgotten), standing over the letter 'R' and saying that she had a strong feeling that he was right under it.
The unfortunate medical bone-specialist was forced to admit on camera that the gaping head-wound was only, in fact, '10 minutes old', and caused by the clumsy use of a mattock. Well I suppose she was no more an archeologist than the others were actors, and they did repair it very quickly.
Of course, she had spent several years trying to raise funds from all over the world to cover the costs of the research and dig, and the biggest contributor must have been Channel 4, who were bound to want to milk it for all it was worth, and I don't blame them. However, this made for some very hammy reconstructed scenes, where people who obviously had rehearsed several times off-camera, pretended to meet each other for the first time, but what the heck, they were not professional actors - except for the one with the curly mop of hair who held the Ricardian's hand all the way through the making of the film.
This is beginning to sound like a review, so I had better curtail it here - especially since most of you have probably seen 'The king under the car-park' 24 hours before I did.
Anyway, we can thank Richard's killers for not destroying his skull (they wanted his face to be recognised, so cut into the back of his head instead) and we can thank Christian priests for the safe-keeping of the mortal remains of the last Plantagenet king for over 500 years. He was buried quietly in a chapel before his successor split with Rome and destroyed the order, or at least changed it out of recognition.
I think they should start digging up platform 10 of Euston Station to find the grave of Queen Boudica, but they might have a bit of trouble finding any living relations from which to take DNA samples. I wonder if J.K. Rowling was aware of how close Platform 9 3/4 was to Boudica's purported last resting place? Come to think of it, the Ricardian lady does bear a striking semblance to J.K. Rowling as well. Spooky...