By Hannah Mullin
BBC’s docudrama Egypt takes a new approach on an old subject. Originally aired in 2005, the mini-series stirred mild interest from the public. The first two episodes illustrated a story everyone knows too well, Tutankhamun and his ‘curse.’ However, the other four shorts explored aspects of Egyptian history not so well known to most. Such as the giant, Giovanni Belzoni, circus performer-turned-explorer-turned-Egyptologist.
Unlike many historical documentaries on the subject, BBC did not shy away from acknowledging the widespread practice of under-the-table smuggling of precious Egyptian pieces and the unprecedented rivalry between French and British treasure hunters and historians.
Director Ferdinand Fairfax and writer Tony Mulholland revealed to us the dramas behind Egypt’s most monumental discoveries and took us on the personal journeys of the men and women at the precipice of Egyptology in a new and entertaining way. While reliving ancient Egyptian culture, viewers got the chance to meet the minds behind the greatest discoveries in Egypt, many of whom do not receive the praise they deserve, such as the French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion who nearly single handedly uncovered the meanings behind Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
The eyeliner in BBC’s reenactments may have been a little too much, but the architectural detail was impressive and gave the viewer a vivid picture of what Egypt may have looked like at the height of its’ power. Egypt is an entertaining drama while maintaining the British humor and corny costumes we have come to love of historical documentaries.