BBC left scratching its head after C4 snaps up Richard III burial show

Channel 4 wins the right to screen the live interment of the body of the 15th Century monarch

Channel 4’s coup in securing the live rights to cover the forthcoming burial of King Richard lll has caused consternation at the BBC, understands.


Having invested in filming the excavation of the king’s remains, C4 was already in pole position to win the rights late last year, but the deal wasn’t done. 

Says an insider: “The BBC couldn’t make its mind up when the discussions started, so there will be Channel 4 cameras inside the cathedral.”  

Sophie Countess of Wessex will be a modern royal presence at the internment at Leicester Cathedral on March 26 which Channel 4 will show live.

When Richard III’s remains were found in a Leicester car park in the autumn of 2012 the discovery caused a worldwide sensation.

The body of the King had been in the shallow grave since the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the the King’s family, with lead archaeologist Richard Buckley earning a round of applause at a press conference when he announced: “Beyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.”

He said the bones had been subjected to “rigorous academic study” and had been carbon dated to a period from 1455-1540.

Dr Jo Appleby, an osteo-archaeologist from the university’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, revealed the bones were of a man in his late 20s or early 30s. Richard was 32 when he died.

His skeleton had suffered ten injuries, including eight to the skull, at around the time of death. Two of the skull wounds were potentially fatal.

Jon Snow will host the event on Thursday March 26, alongside presenters Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Arthur Williams and Sonali Shah.

The first programme will air on Sunday, March 22, as the Monarch’s remains are processed through Leicestershire passing through towns and villages Richard visited when he was alive.


This will be followed by Thursday’s live reinterment with a second highlights show aired later in the evening.