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Monday, 18 February 2013

More days of Richard III mania

Well it's been a busy couple of weeks ...who would have thought that Leicester would be the focus of the world's media for days?

Yes, those bones were those of King Richard III!  It's been such an exciting time for true Ricardians everywhere around the globe, and millions watched the channel 4 documentary about the search for the King.

On the night it was broadcast I was at work in the newsroom reading bulletins every hour on the hour. It was busy so was unaware that I was in the documentary too. But suddenly there were twitter and facebook messages saying I can hear you....and I've just seen you.

Of course the following day I watched..and yes, two pieces of audio were used from the day I was broadcasting from the car park where Richard was found....and two shots of me in the press conference - looking slightly gormless I have to say...

So, nothing to get excited about there...but there's been exciting developments since. Channel 4 have already commisssioned a second documentary about the King  after a consolidated audience of 4.9m - and it's Channel 4's highest rating show of 2013 to date.

We've also seen a fight between two cities over Richard. The City of York laid claim to the King, saying his bones should be interred there ...he was from Yorkshire. As you can imagine that hasn't gone down well here in Leicester. Yet despite the fact the Ministry of Justice licence to allow the original excavation states the legal right of the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council to choose the site of interment, York has continued to press its claim.

As if that wasn't enough excitement , a brand new exhibition opened in the mediaeval Guildhall ten days ago chronicling the search for Richard III and detailing the proof that the body found really was his.

There's some great touchscreen interactives in the exhibition and there's a model of King Richard's skull, made from the CT scan of the skeleton made at Leicester Royal Infirmary and 3D printed using a technique called laser sintering.It's been made by bods from Loughborough University (where I studied)

There's also some rather lovely floor tiles plus a section of carved stone frieze from the wall of the Grey Friars church. Hats off indeed to Laura Hadland,  a senior curator at Leicester City Council and her team who have worked around the clock to get this exhibition up and ready for action in such a breathtakingly short space of time.

When I say this exhibition is popular, there's been queues for days to see this exhibition. But do's free to get into with fascinating glimpses of what's been the most thrilling archaeological finds for many years. Opening times vary, so do check with the Guildhall online before turning up.

 Meanwhile the Richard III Society have unveiled their design for Richard's tomb.

Many like the design but Leicester Cathedral is starting it's own preparation for the interment of King Richard III inside the Cathedral in a place of honour.. A date has been set - 12th March - when the Architects brief will be agreed by the Cathedral Chapter, with whom the decision about a final memorial legally lies. This brief will then be made public.

 So we will wait and see what's decided...but the tomb must be in harmony with its surroundings within the cathedral. Whatever the design though, visitor numbers to Leicester Cathedral will go through the roof.

The BBC studios are within spitting distance of the cathedral and the guildhall, a stone's throw from the car park where Richard III was found, and I can't remember ever seeing so many people milling around here in the mediaeval heart of Leicester. This historic discovery has suddenly ignited a passion for our past....and long may it continue.

Today's track is slightly different to usual and much longer .....but do have a listen. It's a recording of a special concert held a week ago at the University of Leicester, where a group of historical music performers presented a musical biography of Richard III's life, of music from 1452 to 1485.

The group are TritonE - a professional recorder trio which specialises in the performance of historical music.
According to Professor Lin Foxhall, Head of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, at the University of leicester who was so heavily involved in the search for for Richard III,  “This concert offers another perspective on the life and times of Richard III, presenting the sound world in which he lived."
So why not have a listen and transport yourself back to the fifteenth century? 



  1. A much nicer place for him to rest than a car park. I found the tv programme very interesting, what a wonderful find.

    1. Yes Anne, it's been a truly inpsiring discovery - I hope I like the tomb design which is chosen....

  2. Odd that we're having the same discussions on his final burial location right here in America. The Grey Friars took such great care to hide and protect his body, so I'm for Leicester, where he was found and where he died.

    Oh, and I read most of the book on the journey home. Would have finished it, but decided to watch two movies.

    Apparently the world is now reading about Richard III.

    1. Yes, cry aye for leicester! Are you enjoying Josephine tay's book so far then?I will get another this week....

  3. Thanks very much for the compliment! So glad you enjoyed the exhibition, I've been absolutely blown away by the popularity, the queues and the compliments we've received about it. An incredible time for Leicester.

  4. Hi Laura, Good to hear from you! you must be in seventh heaven at the moment, not to mention being extremely knackered!
    Congratulations once again....btw love your blog!And see you soon......

  5. It will come as no surprise that I'm for Leicester too! Haven't been to the exhibition yet. Waiting for the queues to subside first.

  6. I don't think you have to wait too long Ros...visitors are in and out in about 20 minutes....go, you know you know you want to!

  7. I tried to go to the exhibition last week but queues were too long for me - I'm not very patient! However I did go into the cathedral instead. I've only been in there for school carol concerts recently so it was lovely to wander around in the stillness and absorb the beauty of it all as well as to see the dedication stone to Richard in the chancel which was decorated with white carnations. So maybe I'll try the exhibition again next week - someone told me that morning time is best.

  8. The cathedral is lovely isn't it? So many visitors now also appreciating the stillness in the middle of a busy city. Make sure you do get to the exhibition...I went at about 3pm and only had to wait 5 3.30 though...there wasn't anyone waiting!

  9. I live a long way from Leicester, but if I come anywhere close I'd like to visit the exhibition.

  10. Hello Patsy....yes do! ALthough nearly three hours driving is a fair way jsut to come here (and I know that because my daughter is also in Hampshire on the South Coast and I often do that drive!)....but if you're in the vicinity....! Having said that, Leicester is well worth a visit - if you know where to go.