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Egypt : Rediscovering A Lost World (3 Disc Box Set) [DVD] 
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Focusing on three of the most important discoveries from the world of the ancient Egyptians, this series journeys back in time to explore Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, the Great Belzoni's finds from the reign of Ramesses II and Champollion's deciphering of the hieroglyphs. Join Carter, Belzoni and Champollion as they overcome immense obstacles to unlock the secrets of an as-yet undiscovered world and reveal their seminal finds. Then travel even further back, to the amazing period of Egyptian history unveiled by their astounding work.
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1. a two-show account of Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb,
2. a two-show account of the work of Belzoni (about whom there is little attention elsewhere) and
3. a two-show account of the discovery of the meaning hieroglyphs by Champollion (dramatically, the high point).
It is easy to criticise the woeful acting and the cliched script, but actually these shows are probably better than previous docu-drama efforts on the same subjects. However, the shows are beautifully filmed, special effects are excellent and the BBC clearly spent a few bob on reconstructing means of transport, housing, and others bits and pieces. These shows are also excellent for education purposes - students in secondary education would be interested, even captivated, and amused by these programmes.
4. There is also the BBC's account of the building of Khufu's pyramid at Giza from the perspective of a fictional ancient Egyptian. I hated this show when I first saw it, but warmed to it when watching the DVD recently. It explains a lot, the special effects are excellent and the twee acting, and indulgent scripting, are less detracting.
The other bits and pieces (the extras) don't add to much, but overall the 3-disc set is excellent value for money.
Episodes three and four are about Giovanni Belzoni the former circus strongman who went on to collect antiquities for the British in Egypt. These episode were fascinating because I new little about Belzoni prior to watching it. As well as this Matthew Kelly was brilliant in the lead role. Having only previously seen him on Stars in Their Eyes, I had never realised he was such a talented actor.
The final two episodes of the series follow Jean-Francois Champollion in his race to decipher hieroglyphics. Champollion is again very well played, this time by Elliot Cowan who gets the character just right.
This box set also includes a bonus documentary in the form of Pyramid, a documentary about the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Although older than the other documentaries in the box set, it is still generally up-to-date with the current theories about the construction of this wonder of the world. Overall all the documentaries in this box set are brilliantly cast, well acted and expertly researched. Anyone interested in Egyptology should see these DVDs.
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