ITV discovers Tutankhamun drama

UK broadcaster ITV has ordered a four-part miniseries telling the story of the discovery of Ancient Egyptian boy-king Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Tutankhamun, beginning in 1905, will follow solitary young archaeologist Howard Carter as he fervently leads an expedition into the Valley of the Kings in 1921 with the backing of aristocrat Lord Carnarvon.

Guy Burt, who is working on another new ITV scripted series, Jekyll and Hyde, is attached to write the drama.

ITV’s production arm, ITV Studios, will produce Tutankhamun, which is the latest drama to use the boy-king as source material. Spike in the US this year launched its first miniseries in eight years, Tut, which was set in Ancient Egypt.

ITV Studios’ creative director of drama Francis Hopkinson executive produces, Catherine Oldfield produces and Peter Webber will direct. Filming takes place in South Africa in the winter of 2015 and early part of 2016.

“Howard Carter’s discovery of the lost tomb of Tutankhamun is legendary,” said Hopkinson. “His all-consuming, obsessive search for the tomb pushed his friendship with Lord Carnarvon to the brink, whilst the adventurous and extrovert aristocrat poured his inheritance into the excavation.”

ITV director of drama Steve November and controller of drama Victoria Fea co-commissioned the series. “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,” said November.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment takes international distribution.

The commission comes at a busy time for ITV’s drama commissioning team. Last month it greenlit Marcella, a “Scandinavian noir on the streets of Britain”; Simon Nye-penned period piece The Durrells; and Tennison, a Prime Suspect