TV

In the last few years I’ve appeared in around twenty documentary films in the UK and elsewhere. I see it as a very important part of my role in bringing scholarly research to the wider public.

‘King Tut’s Treasure’ (3 episodes) (Blink Films for Channel 5, 2018)

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From the Radio Times: Documentary exploring the thousands of items found with the great Egyptian pharaoh when his tomb was first uncovered, and asking what they might reveal about the life and times in which Tutankhamun lived. Howard Carter’s discovery of the Boy King’s tomb in 1922 made headlines across the world, but over the decades since the find, many of the pharaoh’s priceless goods have disappeared into museum basements and archives across Egypt. Now, all 5,398 objects are being reunited for the first time since their discovery.

My photos from the shoot are here.

Ancient Mysteries: ‘King Tut’s Tomb: The Hidden Chamber’ and ‘Lost City of the Pharaohs’ (Blink Films for Channel 5, 2016)

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Most recently I fronted two episodes in the ‘Ancient Mysteries’ series: ‘King Tut’s Tomb: The Hidden Chamber’ and ‘Lost City of the Pharaohs’. These were shown back-to-back on Channel 5 in the UK in February 2016 (see here), and will, I gather, be shown in the US on The Smithsonian Channel and BBC Worldwide elsewhere in due course. Predictably, the Tut film, which focuses on Nicholas Reeves’ theory that there may be further rooms concealed behind the walls of Tut’s burial chamber (my thoughts here) got the most attention and led to a bit of press e.g. in The Guardian and the Mail Online.

Photos from the shoot are here.

Mummies Alive: The Pharaoh’s Secret (Impossible Factual for the Smithsonian Channel, 2015)

In 2015, I was the lead Egyptologist in the Egyptian episode of ‘Mummies Alive’ a series which made extensive use of animation to bring back to life a series of mummified corpses whose owners had met untimely ends. This was made primarily for an American audience but was also shown in the UK on the Yesterday Channel. There’s a bit too much arm-waving in this one for my liking but the following trailer gives you an idea of what it was about:

Some photos from the shoot are here.

Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Burnt Mummy (Blink Films for Channel 4, 2013)

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In 2013 I fronted a film about Tutankhamun and specifically some new research which suggested that he may have been killed in a chariot accident, and that his mummy may have undergone a process of spontaneous combustion shortly after his burial. This got quite a bit of press coverage, for more on which see here.

A slightly different version of the film was shown on PBS in the US as ‘Secrets of the Dead: Ultimate Tut’ which you can watch in full here. It was also shown in Canada on the History Channel and around the world on National Geographic International. I gather it’s also now on Netflix in the States but being here in Blighty I can’t verify that…

‘Another bloomin’ film about Tutankhamun, what new is there to say?’ you might think… Allow me to explain – see here. And again, some photos from the shoot are here.

The Man Who Discovered Egypt (BBC Wales for BBC4, 2012)

Chris at Tanis

In 2012 I presented ‘The Man Who Discovered Egypt‘ a film about the legendary archaeologist Flinders Petrie, for BBC4. The reviews were generally good, and this one by John Crace for The Guardian was particularly gratifying: “This was yet another of those programmes that BBC4 does so well … archaeologist Chris Naunton was the ideal presenter: enthusiastic but not hyper, knowledgeable, prepared to listen to other experts and, above all, happy to let Petrie take centre stage.”

As of May 2015 the film had been repeated 25 times(!), and has also been shown in various other countries around the world. My account of the filming – an adventure involving three countries, seven different modes of transport including donkey, and an unplanned visit to A&E in Jerusalem… – is here. Yet more photos are here.

Various other things

I’ve also appeared in several other films in the last few years including: Timescanners: The Pyramids (Atlantic Productions 2013), Ancient Impossible (Wild Dream Films, 2014), Treasures Decoded: The Great Pyramid and The Nefertiti Bust (Blink Films, 2014), Ancient Egyptian Vice (Wild Dream Films, 2015), the Story of Egypt (Lion TV, 2015), Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb (Dragonfly, 2015), Treasures Decoded: Plagues of Egypt (Blink Films 2017), The Pharaoh in the Suburbs (Blink Films, 2018).

I have also appeared as an expert on Channel 4 and Al-Jazeera TV news, and The One Show (BBC1), and been interviewed for The Simon Mayo Show (BBC Radio 2), Drive Time (BBC Radio FiveLive), Newshour (BBC World Service) and numerous other TV and radio stations in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, US, and elsewhere.

Showreel

A showreel created for me by the very marvellous Mel Hales at Rush Talent, is here:  

Trailers etc.

Some trailers and news items with me in are here:

What’s it like?

I occasionally get asked to talk about the challenges of presenting academic research on TV. The slides I used for one such presentation – ‘Petrie in Pink & Tutankhamun on Fire’ – will give you an idea of some of the things I think it’s important to consider – see here.

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11 thoughts on “TV

  1. Sabine

    Dear Dr. Naunton,

    I was staying in hospital when “TUT – Mystery of the burnt mummy” was aired in German TV so I was watching the programme.prior to my operation the next day.

    I have been a fan of ancient Egypt for years now and I found it such stunning news I was not aware of before…

    This is just a big THANK YOU – and all the best for your future outside the EES.

    Best regards,

    Sabine

  2. Allan Panton

    Current show ” king tut’s Treasure ” fantastic viewing, and glad I record it too. So good to see an enthusiastic and energetic presenter for a change on Egyptology, as sometimes they can be dull.
    You really do bring alive what you are experiencing to us the viewer at home.
    well done Channel 5 on choosing such a great presenter.

  3. Allan Panton

    Fantastic Part 2 – It was intriguing, thought provoking and challenges what everyone has thought previously about Kin Tut. was surprised though that the Death Mask was genuinely made for Tut as it seemed the experts were heading towards that of Queen Nefertiti being the original owner.
    Glad I record the series as I can watch over and over again the genuine amazement of how many treasures have still to be seen by the public.
    Another 10/10 Chris – fab series.

    1. Thanks very much Allan, really glad you enjoyed it! I was a little surprised that the film seemed to present the conclusion that it was made for Tut as the end of the discussion – a lot of us still believe the mask *was* made for Nefertiti, following Nick Reeves research, see https://www.academia.edu/19406244/The_Gold_Mask_of_Ankhkheperure_Neferneferuaten_2015_ and also https://www.academia.edu/7415055/Tutankhamuns_Mask_Reconsidered_2015_ Thanks again, really appreciate your kind words!

      1. Allan Panton

        Thanks Chris for the links, and I will make sure that I get around to reading those.
        Hopefully there is more to come from yourself on King Tut, as it really does make fantastic viewing. Even better if you get to do another series on the mysteries of the Egyptians, as so much needs to be re documented from different perspectives.
        Superb work you do, thank you for sharing it with us who appreciate it on TV.

  4. Christian Leduc

    Hello,

    My 4yo son loves the Tutankhamun documentary so much we have to watch excerpts each morning. In fact, he is as excited to see you walking in the Cairo as he is to see King Tut in his car !

    I hope we will be able to see the French version of the new documentaries soon.

    Best wishes from Canada,

    Best wishes,

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