Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret

Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

Some viewers will be shocked by this and feel that showing the mummification of a dead Torquay taxi driver crosses a line. And it does, but the result is extraordinary television, if gruelling to watch.

Stephen Buckley has spent decades investigating the embalming techniques of the pharaohs, using (among other things) pigs’ legs in tupperware in his garden shed. Now the terminally ill Alan Billis has given permission for his body to be used in Buckley’s attempt to re-create the ancient practice. Its a gripping piece of frontline science, but it’s also emotional: we hear Alan speak in voiceover while his dead body is embalmed.
In the end this does a rare thing: stares death in the face and makes us do the same.

About this programme

Behind the scenes at a leading forensic pathology lab, where scientists have been busy unlocking the secret of how the Egyptians of the ancient 18th Dynasty were able to preserve the bodies of their greatest pharaohs for millennia. A terminally ill man volunteers to donate his body to experts who, having uncovered the complex blend of ingredients necessary for the process, prepare to create a 21st-century mummy.

Cast and crew


Kenny Scott
Executive Producer
Justine Kershaw
Executive Producer
Gillian Mosely
Laura Jones