Bone Detectives: Britain's Buried Secrets

Bone Detectives: Britain's Buried Secrets

Series 2 - Episode 5



“Bodysnatching” brings to mind illicit practices in dead of night – think of the notorious Burke and Hare in Edinburgh in the early 19th century. But finding suitable corpses for science by unsuitable means wasn’t confined to the Scottish capital. As the archaeological detective show hosted by Tori Herridge returns, we’re in Bristol, where a dig in a former graveyard only a few minutes’ walk from Bristol Royal Infirmary has uncovered 13 19th-century skeletons whose bodies show signs of postmortem analysis, from sliced skulls to amputated legs.

It’s pleasingly close to the bone – Herridge’s colleague, mortuary technician Carla Valentine, is very excited by the similarity to her own work – and yet quite poignant, as we can actually put a name to one of the dead and learn more about his family and Bristol society in the 1830s.


Tori Herridge and a team of scientists piece together the story behind the discovery of 13 bodies with the skulls cut open in a 19th-century Bristol graveyard. The investigation uncovers a link to a local hospital, a celebrated surgeon, and the crime of bodysnatching.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Tori Herridge
Executive Producer Brendan Hughes
Series Director Michael Waterhouse
Series Producer Michael Waterhouse
Documentary Education