Documentary going behind the scenes at the Tower of London and exploring its 900 years of history.
It is March 2022 and the Tower is preparing for its most ambitious installation ever – the transformation of the moat into a huge floral display to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Known as Superbloom, the installation has been three years in the planning and is the most complex operation the Tower has ever undertaken. As the team dig trenches for essential utilities, there’s a rare opportunity for archaeologists to search the moat’s soil for treasures. They discover proof of the Tower’s rich military history – a fragment of cannon ball, and even a syringe that would have been used to inject mercury to treat sexually transmitted diseases in World War I soldiers.
This isn’t the first time there’s been a search for buried treasure in the Tower – Yeoman Sergeant Clive Towell discovers how the diarist Samuel Pepys went digging in the Tower’s cellars after a corrupt Constable of the Tower was rumoured to have hidden his gold in the grounds in the 1650s.
Yeoman Warder Lawrence Watts gives new recruit Tam Reilly a secret tour of the Tower – the places the tourists rarely see, including Sir Thomas More’s cell behind a hidden door in the King’s House, and the toilet built for Adolf Hitler when it was thought he could be imprisoned at the Tower during WWII.
Chief Curator Tracy Borman uncovers a Catholic plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, carried out by Italian banker Roberto Ridolfi with one of the stupidest noblemen in history, Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk was arrested and eventually executed by Elizabeth on Tower Hill.
Horticultural expert Professor Nigel Dunnett has designed the planting scheme for Superbloom. He and his team have to scatter 20 million seeds across the moat’s 14,000 square metres to grow and flower in time for the Platinum Jubilee weekend in June.
As if that wasn’t hard enough, there’s a new challenge – discouraging the Tower’s greedy pigeons who see Nigel’s seed sowing efforts as a giant buffet. Ravenmaster Chris Skaife is called in to set up Barry the Bird Scarer in the hope that the pigeons will be put off long enough for the plants to get going. But not all pigeons are pests – Chris discovers the story of GI Joe, a homing pigeon given a medal for saving the lives of British troops in 1943.
Inside the Tower of London Series
You can find a full index and overview of Inside the Tower of London here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 03 November 2022.
- Rating: 15.
- Running Time: 58 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.