Tu­tankhamun's ef­forts to rule over his em­pire

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

Thou­sands of books have been writ­ten about Tu­tankhamun since his nearly in­tact tomb was dis­cov­ered by Howard Carter and Ge­orge Herbert in 1922. The boy king was only eight or nine when he be­came ruler of Egypt some­where be­tween 1333 and 1324 BC, and was only on the throne for about 10 years be­fore dy­ing in his late teens. Other than this, many of the con­clu­sions that have been drawn about the pharaoh’s life are wildly spec­u­la­tive. Some have sug­gested that the king was sickly and dis­fig­ured and died of his var­i­ous ail­ments be­fore the age of 20. But this has ob­vi­ously never been proved, and this no­tion of in­ter­pre­ta­tion has clearly given the mak­ers of this epic two-part his­tor­i­cal drama Tut, Chan­nel 5, 9pm, (which con­cludes to­mor­row) room for ma­noeu­vre when it comes to chron­i­cling the boy king's life. The re­sult is a swash­buck­ling yarn, which is per­fect to while away the hours on a warm Au­gust evening. Avan Jo­gia stars as the ti­tle char­ac­ter, who at 19, 10 years af­ter tak­ing the throne upon his fa­ther’s death, seeks to lead his peo­ple justly and se­cure his legacy as a great king in the mould of his pop­u­lar grand­fa­ther. How­ever, the young king faces ob­sta­cles at ev­ery turn and is dis­missed by those around him, in­clud­ing chief ad­viser Vizier Ay, army leader Gen­eral Horemheb and dou­ble-deal­ing high priest Amun, as still a child. Tonight, he sneaks off to Thebes, where he is re­cruited by a group plan­ning to wage war against a ri­val em­pire, the trou­ble­some Mi­tanni, and comes to the res­cue of beau­ti­ful vil­lage girl Suhad. On the do­mes­tic front, his sis­ter­wife Ankhe (Sibylla Deen) tries in vain to give her brother an heir, but is frus­trated by re­peated mis­car­riages. If you can get past this in­ces­tu­ous thread, Tut and Ankhe are the era’s ul­ti­mate power cou­ple — young, rich, beau­ti­ful and lethal. Os­car-win­ner Ben Kings­ley anchors the show as Ay, bring­ing the gravitas re­quired to keep a lav­ish pro­duc­tion like this grounded in drama. And it was a role he clearly rel­ished play­ing. "What I find fas­ci­nat­ing is this: the An­cient Egyp­tians were com­mit­ted to the idea of im­mor­tal­ity," he told Ya­hoo. "They placed their pharaohs in ex­tra­or­di­nary de­vices, math­e­mat­i­cally-cal­cu­lated and herbally-in­fused, so that the body could stay alive for­ever and join the gods."

Pharaoh Avan Jo­gia stars in the his­tor­i­cal drama.

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