SKY HISTORY COMMISSIONS A NEW SERIES OF ROYAL AUTOPSY
London, 30th November 2023: A+E Networks EMEA has re-commissioned Phoenix Television and GroupM Motion Entertainment to produce four new 60-minute episodes for a second series of Sky HISTORY’s ROYAL AUTOPSY, presented by Professor Alice Roberts.
Following the success of the first series – winner of the RTS Southern Award for Best Factual Series – which examined the deaths of Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles II, the second series investigates the cause of death of four more British monarchs: Anne, Mary I, King Henry IV and George IV.
- Anne (played recently by Olivia Colman in ‘The Favourite’) was the last of the Stuart line and Queen of England from 1702-1714. She endured no fewer than 17 pregnancies, which sadly ended with miscarriages, stillbirths, or childhood death, before having to surrender the throne to the Hanoverians.
- Mary I (aka ‘Bloody Mary’) was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and succeeded her brother Edward VI to become Queen of England from 1553-1558. As Queen, Mary forcibly attempted to bring back the Catholic faith to England. So desperate for a child to secure England’s return to Catholicism, she experienced phantom pregnancies.
- Henry IV (aka Henry Bolingbroke) was King of England from 1399-1413. Best known for usurping and murdering his cousin (Richard II) to take the crown, he suffered from a mysterious debilitating skin condition during the later years of his reign.
- George IV (aka ‘Prinny’ or The Prince Regent) was the son of George III and King of England from 1820-1830, although best known for his period as Regent from 1811 when he stepped in for his mad father and became one of Britain’s most obese and hated monarchs.
As she did in the first series, Professor Alice Roberts will bring her renowned historical insight and expertise to piece together the final dying days of these monarchs. In partnership with Home Office pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer, they use a unique combination of prosthetic bodies, actors, and ethically sourced animal organs in a graphic, ‘as-real’ autopsy to determine how each of them died.
Alice will take her findings to the world’s leading medical and constitutional experts to determine how each ailment and affliction might have impacted each monarch’s reign in their later years and deaths.
Using eyewitness accounts sourced from the time of their deaths, the final days of these historical figures are brought to life in vivid detail with premium scripted dramatic scenes directed by Paul Olding and starring Gareth David Lloyd as King Henry IV, Olivia Hallinan as Mary I, Carli Norris as Queen Anne and Tim Hudson as King George IV.
Based on the evidence from their unique, in-depth investigations, Professor Alice Roberts and Dr. Brett Lockyer will reveal what they believe killed these queens and kings hundreds of years ago.
Professor Alice Roberts said, “I’m beyond thrilled that Royal Autopsy is back for a second series and four new investigations. It’s such a unique historical approach to examine not just the key events of a monarch’s reign but actually how they lived and suffered as mere mortals. I’m very proud to be a part of it.”
The series was commissioned and executive produced by Dan Korn, VP of Programming at A+E Networks EMEA, with Diana Carter, Commissioning Editor and Head of Talent at A+E Networks EMEA.
Dan Korn, VP of Programming, said, “We’re delighted to welcome back Professor Alice Roberts and Dr. Brett Lockyer to Sky History and that this novel approach of combining contemporaneous historical accounts with practical demonstrations of post-mortems and present-day medical investigations has proved such a hit.”
Royal Autopsy is a Phoenix Television and GroupM Motion Entertainment production. Executive producers are Miles Jarvis and Jaimi West for Phoenix and Melanie Darlaston for GroupM Motion Entertainment. The series is created, written, and directed by Paul Olding.
Miles Jarvis said, “Seamlessly bringing premium scripted drama, ‘as-real’ autopsy, and unfolding investigative narratives together is not a simple endeavour – especially when entirely based on fact. It’s a real team effort across so many different specialist areas of TV production. Thanks to everyone who contributes their all to make this unique and very special series.”
Royal Autopsy season two premieres on Sky HISTORY in 2024.
For more information, please contact:
Sky HISTORY is available on Sky 123, Virgin 131, Talk Talk 327 and streaming service NOW.
Clips, viewing materials and images to be provided on request when available.
Interview access available depending on availability.
About Sky HISTORY
Sky HISTORY is the flagship brand of the A+E Networks® EMEA portfolio which is made up of true crime channel Crime + Investigation®; Sky HISTORY2® and free to air channel BLAZE®. Sky HISTORY is available in the UK on Sky, Virgin and on streaming service NOW. www.SkyHistory.co.uk
About A+E Networks EMEA
At A+E Networks EMEA, we share stories that matter everywhere, anywhere. A leader in factual entertainment, our compelling, award-winning content connects with millions across the UK, Nordics, Benelux, Germany, Italy, Spain, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Our portfolio of premium brands – The HISTORY® Channel, Crime + Investigation®, HISTORY2®, BLAZE®, and COSMO TV® - inspire and excite viewers with hit franchises (Forged in Fire), must-see dramas (Vikings) and original commissions (The Hunt for Baltic Gold and Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter). Our stories are global and local, linear and digital, and always compelling. With offices in London, Rome, Madrid, Warsaw, Munich, and Johannesburg, we are a truly international company that celebrates difference and diversity.
About Phoenix Television
Phoenix is a brave, innovative non-scripted television production company. We make different. The company is jointly owned and run by Founding Partners Jaimi West and Miles Jarvis who worked together for 17 years at three different production companies before setting up Phoenix in 2017. We are experts at creating and delivering innovative, high quality, returnable non-scripted series and premium factual. As passionate programme makers we thrive on developing and producing programmes under three editorial pillars: Specialist Factual, Crime and Factual Entertainment/Reality. Phoenix is an ethnically diverse, female-led, Royal Television Society award-winning British indie based in Hampshire, UK.
Our programmes and more about us can be found at www.phoenixtelevision.co.uk.
About GroupM Motion Entertainment
GroupM Motion Entertainment funds, develops, produces and distributes premium television, digital content and award-winning programming around the globe in partnership with the world’s leading producers, talent, networks, and platforms. Through innovative commercial and creative partnerships Motion works alongside GroupM agencies to produce original brand-funded content and unique entertainment partnerships that create value and help clients play a positive and active role in culture. The company has co-produced over 1,800 series, equating to over 26,000 hours of television across all programming genres. Motion currently operates in 44 countries worldwide with headquarters in London and Los Angeles. GroupM Motion Entertainment is part of GroupM, a WPP company.