BBC One announces Cleopatra: Portrait Of A Killer
Cleopatra – one of the greatest icons in history – is to be the focus of a new historical documentary for BBC One this winter.
Based on new and exclusive forensic evidence, this new one-off 60-minute special reveals a darker and more ruthless side to the Queen of Egypt, traditionally mythologised for her beauty, her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and, finally, her suicide.
It is based on the groundbreaking discovery of a tomb containing human remains.
Archaeologists are convinced that this is the skeleton of one of Cleopatra's victims, murdered by her Roman lover, Mark Antony, on her orders.
Mythologised as the greatest love affair in history, Cleopatra: Portrait Of A Killer shows how Cleopatra and Mark Antony's passion spilled into cold-blooded murder as they bid to hold on to power.
It reveals the darker side of love and power in the ancient world. It brings to life key scenes from the life and loves of Cleopatra: her marriage to Caesar; murder of her brother Ptolemy and the boat where Mark Antony and Cleopatra draw up a "most wanted" list.
Based on exclusive access to the archaeologists and the skeleton, Cleopatra: Portrait Of A Killer is a tale of rivalry, lust, incest, murder and power that destroyed an empire.
It is an incredible true story about one of history's greatest legends.
Mark Bell, BBC Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual, says: "Cleopatra – arguably the most famous woman in history – has been the subject of endless fiction and much speculation.
"This film, based on riveting new archeological evidence, gives a fresh perspective on the world's original femme fatale.
"It may be ancient history, but it still makes a sensational story today, and I'm delighted to be bringing it to BBC One."
Cleopatra: Portrait Of A Killer has been made by Lion Television and Brave New Media for the BBC. The executive producer for Lion is Richard Bradley.
Richard Bradley says: "It's rare that you come across a real archaeological scoop that concerns one of history's greatest figures. This is one of those stories.
"Lion Television is excited to be partnering with producer Paul Elstan and Brave New Media to bring this fascinating tale to the screen.
"We hope that this story will help the audience see Cleopatra as a real woman wrestling with power, rather than the semi-mythical figure of Liz Taylor and Carry On movies."
Notes to Editors
More details will be announced about the forensic evidence at a later date.