EXCLUSIVE– Peter Webber is on-board to direct Tutankhamun, a major new four part TV series for ITV. The event series will follow the epic story of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of one of Ancient Egypt’s forgotten pharaohs, the boy-king Tutankhamun.
Guy Burt (Jekyll and Hyde, The Borgias) is writing and the story 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. The story unfolds from 1905 when Carter, an eminent British archaeologist then in his 20’s, is fervently leading an expedition only to have his license to dig revoked by Cairo’s Antiquities Service. Carter spends years ostracised, dishevelled and living rough and resorting to selling previously discovered archaeological relics to buy food. A chance meeting with British aristocrat, the dashing 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 the most unlikely friendship, in spite of their differences of background and character. 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 and at great personal expense.
The drama will be exec produced by ITV Studios Creative Director of Drama Francis Hopkinson (Wallander) and Catherine Oldfield (Foyle’s War). 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. ITV Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea have commissioned the series.
“Tutankhamun is a story of epic proportions,” said Steve November. “Against the backdrop of World War One, conflict, murder, corruption, romance and the unlikeliest of friendships, Tutankhamun sees Howard Carter’s determination pay off in spectacular style when he discovers one of the greatest archaeological treasures of the modern world,” added Steve.
Peter Webber is one of the UK’s classier directors with a strong pedigree in handling historical fare. Previous credits include the award-winning Girl With a Pearl Earring and the Tommy Lee Jones-starrer Emperor. Most recently, he directed the powerful climate change documentary Ten Billion. He is repped by United Agents and UTA.