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Warner brings you Ancient Egypt on DVD

Warner Home Video have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of the Channel 4 TV Series Ancient Egyptians for 8th December 2003 as a two-disc set retailing at £19.99. Filmed on location in Egypt and Morocco, these four one-hour films tell the true stories of real people who lived in ancient Egypt. The stories have survived for thousands of years, scattered in the fragile pages of papyrus court records, letters and inscriptions.

On DVD the detailed special features go one further step into the Ancient world. Warriors and Thieves and Priests and Dreamers explain more about the people of ancient Egypt, the divisions of class and labour, as well as delving deeper into their religious beliefs. Pharaonic Fashions looks at the clothing of the period and the glamour of the kings of Egypt, Digital Egypt and Reinventing Ancient Egypt go behind the scenes on the arduous production process for Ancient Egyptians, and explore the extensive research and historical development of the series. Speaking in Hieroglyphs is a fascinating feature on the languages of the region and how programme makers painstakingly reassembled ancient texts to produce such an authentic TV experience.

From the Press Release:

This stunning £5.65 million production, strikingly dramatised with state of the art computer-generated visual effects, was three years in the making. It is the most ambitious television series about life in ancient Egypt ever made, and the DVD is packed with fantastic special features to make Ancient Egyptians worth watching again and again.

Filmed on location in Egypt and Morocco, these four one-hour films tell the true stories of real people who lived in ancient Egypt. The stories have survived for thousands of years, scattered in the fragile pages of papyrus court records, letters and inscriptions.

Ancient Egyptians takes us into a world of class conflict, corruption, heroism, family feuds and tragedy. These are compelling human tales, told through the words and deeds of real people: a poor quarryman arrested for tomb robbing, an inexperienced Pharaoh facing a threat to his kingdom, a family caught up in a violent feud, destitute twin girls struggling to survive in an unforgiving world. Their stories, which span 1,500 years, unfold against the backdrop of great events in the kingdom’s history and paint intimate and dramatic portraits of a rich and fascinating society.

In recreating these ancient stories, wherever possible the characters’ real words and thoughts are used, in the ancient Egyptian language. Costume and design are based on meticulous research into the wealth of real material that has survived from ancient Egypt at different periods. Computer-generated visual effects play an important part in recreating the scale and visual richness of the ancient Egyptians’ world, whether it’s a working day in a temple, or an army on the march.

The struggle that gave birth to an empire
May 19th,1458 BC. A rebel Syrian warlord challenges the might of Egypt. On a plain below the city of Megiddo, the two greatest armies the ancient world has ever seen prepare to fight. The fate of Egypt lies in the hands its young Pharaoh, who has never before seen battle. This is a true story. The chronicle of this epic struggle was carved into the stone walls of the Temple of Karnak over three and a half thousand years ago. It records how a pampered prince was transformed by war – and turned his kingdom into an empire. He became Egypt’s greatest warrior Pharaoh, Tuthmosis III.

The great tomb robbing scandal of the 20th Dynasty
October 1111 BC. The holy city of Thebes is rocked by scandal. The tombs of the Pharaohs are being plundered of priceless treasure. A labourer called Amenpanufer is arrested for tomb robbery, and tortured. Three thousand years later, the records of his trial still survive. But this is no ordinary criminal case. It’s the true story of the greatest tomb robbing scandal in Egypt’s history. The poor quarryman is just a fall guy, hauled in to cover up a web of lies and corruption – but he knows enough to bring down the most powerful men in Egypt.

The greatest tragedy of ancient Egypt’s Renaissance
March 632 BC. In the temple of Teudjoi in Middle Egypt, a group of priests gather to plot a murder. For decades, they’ve suffered under the brutal reign of a powerful outsider, Petiese, the cousin of Egypt’s new Pharaoh. Now the time has come for revenge against his unsuspecting family: his daughter, son-in-law and their two young boys. The story of this tragic family saga has survived for two and a half thousand years. Set against the backdrop of a nation in turmoil, it’s the story of a thirty year feud that tears apart a city and brings down one of the most powerful dynasties in Egypt.

Episode Four: THE TWINS’ TALE
Murder, betrayal and decadence in Egypt’s dying days
Egypt, 164 BC. A bull that is worshipped as a God dies. Two children, twin girls, are plucked from poverty to become virgin priestesses of the Apis Bull cult. Their mother has abandoned them, and their father has been murdered. As handmaidens to the dead bull, they may be saved from a life of poverty and prostitution - but not if their mother has her way. The true story of the sacred twins is told in a letter they wrote to the Pharaoh over two thousand years ago. It’s a tragic tale of greed and betrayal that unfolds in the shadowy underworld of the great temple city of Saqqara in the last decades of the Egyptian empire.

The series is produced by award-winning independent producers Wall To Wall and is broadcast on Channel 4 on Thursdays at 9pm from 13th November.

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