Documentary going behind the scenes at the Tower of London and exploring its 900 years of history.
It is spring 2022, and Deputy Governor Debbie Whittingham and Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller have spotted an impressive visitor berthed across the river from the Tower – it is a Japanese warship that’s on a world tour, stopping off in the capital. The sight of it brings back happy memories for Debbie of her naval career when she would show the crews of foreign ships the iconic London sights, including a visit to the Tower.
Historical Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman investigates the bridges that connect the Tower to the south side of the Thames – London Bridge which used to carry the heads of Tower traitors on spikes as a warning to others, and the much more recent Tower Bridge. Tracy discovers the Tower authorities had a say in the mock gothic design of Tower Bridge as it was so close to the fortress’s walls. She also witnesses an extraordinary feat of engineering as the bridge splits in two and lifts to allow the massive Japanese warship through as it continues its global tour.
Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran and Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller plan the route of one of the Tower’s oldest – and liveliest – events. It is the ancient ritual marking the Tower’s parish boundaries by hitting it with sticks, known as Beating the Bounds. One of the few family friendly ceremonies at the Tower, it’s a rare opportunity for the Beefeaters’ children to accompany their dads on parade around the City, led by Tower Governor Brigadier Andrew Jackson.
Meanwhile, Tracy is on the trail of one of the most famous queens in English history, Anne Boleyn. Anne was Henry VIII‘s second wife and he had her executed at the Tower by a French swordsman. Tracy wants to find out more about the eyewitness accounts that stated Anne seemed to continue to pray after her beheading, and that her lips and eyes continued to move. Tracy visits anatomist Adam Taylor at Lancaster University to explore whether these accounts could be true.
Back at the Tower, the garden team are planning a special formal garden in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee. Known as the Queen’s Garden, it is inspired by the colours used in the Queen’s coronation dress that was created especially for her by British designer Norman Hartnell.
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: 17 November 2022.
- Rating: U.
- Running Time: 58 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.