It is the story of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of one of Ancient Egypt’s forgotten pharaohs, the boy-king Tutankhamun. The four-part event miniseries, written by Guy Burt (“Jekyll and Hyde,” “The Bletchley Circle,” “The Borgias”), will focus on the personal story of Carter, a solitary man on the edge of society who became an iconic figure and an unlikely hero.
Details of casting will be unearthed in the coming months. ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute “Tutankhamun” internationally.
Set against the great sweep of ocher sands, looming cliffs and baking heat of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the story unfolds from 1905 when Carter, an eminent British archaeologist who we meet in his early 20s, is fervently leading an expedition. Carter’s grim determination to find lost antiquities is only too apparent: He has an easy manner with the Egyptian men who work alongside him, but when tempers fray Carter is hotheaded and puts the dig and his career in jeopardy.
With his license to dig revoked by Cairo’s Antiquities Service, Carter spends years ostracized, disheveled and living rough and resorting to selling previously discovered archaeological relics to buy food.
A chance meeting with a British aristocrat, the dashing, suave and eccentric Lord Carnarvon, brings a change of fortunes as the enthusiastic amateur needs an experienced archaeologist to help him with a series of random excavations. Carter and Carnarvon begin an unlikely friendship. Privileged and fast living, Carnarvon keeps faith with Carter and continues to back him when no one else will. After years of searching for the tomb, Carter and Carnarvon successfully discover the last resting place of the boy-king in 1921 against all odds.
The drama will be exec produced by ITV Studios creative director of drama Francis Hopkinson and Catherine Oldfield. Simon Lewis (“The C Word,” “The Paradise,” “The Body Farm”) will produce. Filming will take place in South Africa during the winter of 2015 and early part of 2016.
The story first appeared in Variety‘s sister title Deadline.