Every now and again a somewhat grizzly call goes out for someone to volunteer to be mummified (posthumously, of course!) in the interestes of Egyptological research into the entire process of mummification. Here's the latest. With photos.
Channel 4 looks set to become embroiled in another taste row after backing a project which seeks to mummify a terminally-ill volunteer for a TV documentary.
The body of the candidate selected to be embalmed could then end up being displayed in a museum.
If the project goes ahead it will follow a trail of programmes which seek to challenge views on death. Television audiences have been shown an autopsy, carried out by the controversial German anatomist Dr Gunther von Hagens, and an on-screen assisted suicide.
Precision process: Egyptians were masters of mummification, but an English scientist believes he has worked out the secrets to embalming
Channel 4 and production company Fulcrum TV have advertised in magazines for possible candidates to volunteer.
The advert reads: 'We are currently keen to talk to some one who, faced with the knowledge of their own terminal illness and all that it entails, would nonetheless consider undergoing the process of an ancient Egyptian embalming.'
An English scientist claims to have unlocked the secrets of mummification. His efforts at recreating the work of Egyptians will be the subject of the documentary.
A terminally ill patient is being sought to donate their body to be mummified for a Channel 4 TV show.
The programme will explore the mysteries of ancient Egyptian embalming, which was believed would help people reach the afterlife.
Adverts have been placed asking for dying patients interested in participating to get in touch.
Channel 4 said: "If the scientists are able to find a donor, we would be willing to follow the process."
It is understood the project - which has been proposed by production company Fulcrum TV - is in its very early stages and may not actually be made.
The idea was uncovered when an executive producer from Fulcrum TV, Richard Belfield, spoke to an undercover journalist posing as a possible volunteer.
He was quoted as saying it had been suggested - although it was not obligatory - that the body be placed in a museum exhibition to enable people to understand the mummification process.
The Independent, UK
With thanks to Glen Fricker for the link.
Channel 4 confirmed it had contributed a nominal amount of funds to Fulcrum to help with development. This sum typically pays for a producer to look into the research and assess the programme’s viability.
Yesterday, a Channel 4 spokesman said the channel was supportive of the project: “We’re fascinated by the research that is taking place. If the scientists are able to find a willing donor we’d be interested in following the process. And if you were to question why we were interested we’d say ‘If the scientists have solved one of the ancient world’s most enduring mysteries [the process of mummification] it would give us a unique insight into science and Egyptian history and may well prove to have other significant benefits for medical science’.”
The concept has drawn some criticism, but it is not the first to do so. An ITV documentary, called Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell, which showed what some classed as the first televised death in Britain. It involved an Alzheimer’s sufferer, Malcolm Pointon, in 2007, and led to huge controversy. The documentary chronicled Malcolm's last moments as he slipped into a coma – he died three days later.