17 Aug 2014, 9pm - CHANNEL 4
In a world exclusive in February last year, Channel 4 broadcast a film that followed the extraordinary hunt for Richard III: the king discovered, against all the odds, under a car park in Leicester. Since then, for the first time, scientists have been able to subject the skeleton of an English king to intense scrutiny and analysis, allowing them to reassemble his life in fascinating detail. Using the latest scientific techniques, experts at the University of Leicester and beyond have been able to work out the extent to which his potentially extreme spinal deformity would have affected his ability to be the warrior king famed for leading the charge at the Battle of Bosworth. They have also pieced together his diet and revealed his lifestyle in his final years, with surprising results. The scientists have been helped in their investigations by a living body double who volunteered to test their theories via practical experiments and reconstructions. Dominic Smee, who suffers from the same form of scoliosis as Richard III and whose spine, with its 75-degree spinal curve, is deemed 'virtually identical' by the experts, agreed to collaborate with the scientists on a unique intensive physical programme to see how Richard's scoliosis would have affected his ability to wield a sword, wear armour, ride a horse and use a lance.