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The Search for Alfred the Great

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When an unmarked grave at a Winchester parish church was opened in March 2013, metal screens concealed the exhumation from the media glare. Only a clutch of clergymen, historians and scientists were privy to the dig, which aimed to discover whether bones entombed at the site since 1866 belonged to Alfred the Great.

There was also, of course, a camera crew. With footage from the lab where the bones were analysed, Neil Oliver takes us behind the scenes of this top-secret search for a lost king, while also recapping the remarkable life that made Alfred one of England's most significant monarchs. The film's conclusion was unavailable for preview suggesting that its findings may be worth keeping under wraps…


Neil Oliver follows the work of the team of historians and scientists trying to discover the final resting place of the remains of 9th-century English king Alfred the Great, with the monarch's bones having been moved so many times over the years that many people concluded that they were lost for ever. Travelling from Winchester to Rome, Neil also tells the story of Alfred's life, revealing a man who forged a united language and identity and laid the foundations of the English nation.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Neil Oliver
Director Robin Dashwood
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
Producer Robin Dashwood


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