Pompeii's Final Hours: New Evidence

Pompeii's Final Hours: New Evidence

Series 1 - Episode 1



Here’s a big Channel 5 event: a consecutive three-night broadcast examining what might have happened in Pompeii in the days leading up to the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

It’s rather good. Bettany Hughes, Raksha Dave and John Sergeant are a winning trio of presenters (Hughes and Dave are archaeologists/historians, while John Sergeant isn’t) and the central story is toweringly poignant. Up to 3,000 people are thought to have died where they stood when the volcano erupted, spewing ash and pumice stone down onto the city, wiping it from the map.

But, of course, Pompeii survived as a city of ghosts, thanks to the casts taken of the voids left after the deaths of citizens. Some of these are very carefully removed from an on-site museum and scanned at a local hospital to see what’s left.

We also glimpse how the Romans spent their leisure time, with food, fights and rumpy-pumpy.


Historian Bettany Hughes, archaeologist Raksha Dave and John Sergeant reveal fresh evidence surrounding the volcano's eruption. They begin on October 22, 79AD, two days before Pompeii is destroyed, and piece together the final hours of the doomed city. Raksha joins a live dig, and John visits nearby Naples to find out how the Roman way of life has survived for 2,000 years.

Cast & Crew

Presenter John Sergeant
Presenter Bettany Hughes
Presenter Raksha Dave
Director Paul Nelson
Executive Producer Sanjay Singhal
Executive Producer Jon Alwen
Producer Elena Mortelliti
Producer Paul Nelson
Series Director Jamie Simpson
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