Filthy Cities – Medieval London

Written by Rachel on April 5th, 2011

From here:
Tues 5th April (that’s TODAY!!!)

Also on:
Weds 6th April – 0.00am – BBC HD
Thurs 7th April – 11.20pm – BBC 2 (England, Scotland, Wales only)
Fri 8th April – 00.20am – BBC2 (Northern Ireland only)
Dan dressed in protective gear ready to visit the sewers

Historian Dan Snow gets down and dirty in Medieval grime to discover the hard way how the London we know was forged in the filth of the 14th century.

State of the art CGI reveals London’s streets as they were 700 years ago and Dan steps into the shoes of a medieval Londoner – wooden platforms designed to help him rise above the disgusting mess underfoot. He spends the night as a medieval muck-raker shifting a staggering six tonnes of excrement, and has a go at medieval butchery to find out what the authorities were up against.

Plus, he examines the remains of a plague victim to discover how a catastrophic epidemic would help a new and cleaner London emerge from the muck of the past.

Dan turning a tap

Thankfully Dan thought better of trying to find out what would happen if he turned this tap...

Dan and a wheelbarrow of offal

Dan looks surprisingly cheerful, and manages to make pushing a wheelbarrow full of offal around the streets of central London look almost normal

Dan fixing a tyre

Dan rescues the shoot after an unexpected ‘technical problem’

Dan and a leech

It doesn't look too bad now, but it's not long before the leech on Dan's arm more than doubles in size as it fills up on his blood...

Dan and a wheelbarrow of manure

Dan gets stuck into shovelling 6 tonnes of manure off the streets... In one night.

Dan butchering some farm animal

Dan has a butchery lesson - Medieval style. And it’s hard, filthy work.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Agatha Pereira says:

    Filthy Cities is brilliant ! Well done.


    Agatha Pereira.

  2. Simon Platman says:

    Good fun and interesting.

    One quibble – a mortality rate of 35 years does not mean that a 31-year-old man has on average only 4 years left to live, as Dan suggested. It is skewed by the massively high infant mortality rate of the day. Thus a fit and healthy man of 31 could expect a reasonable chance of surviving into old age.