’Tutankhamen’ debuted on ITV last night, in the period drama vacated by ‘Victoria’ - but, if first impressions are to go by, it could take a little longer for viewers and critics to warm to this one.
Max Irons (Jeremy’s son) stars in his first lead TV role as Howard Carter, the establishment outsider who famously confounded his peers’ expectations by discovering the tomb of the boy pharaoh in 1922.
Sam Neill stars as Lord Carnarvon, the tycoon prepared to fund the archaeologist’s efforts when no one else would.
You’d think these two stars, plus a dose of sun-baked intrigue, some wafting linens and parasols and a hint of romance would be perfectly adequate for Sunday night fare. Not so much…
The Daily Mail’s Jim Shelley didn’t mince his words. “Tutankhamun was the worst Sunday night costume drama in recent history – as if ITV wanted to come up with something for anyone who had found Poldark, Downton, and Victoria too intellectually taxing or impenetrably authentic.” (Read the full review here)
The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston was more generous. “Perhaps there’ll be love rivalry, a love triangle (pyramid?) in the coming episodes... Tutankhamun doesn’t require an awful lot of thought; more Downton than Brideshead, if we’re going to get snooty about our costume drama – Down-tomb Abbey … If you haven’t had your head in a sand dune your entire life, then you’ll know exactly where it’s going.” (Read the full review here)
Not every viewer was entirely convinced, however...
It's like getting smacked across the head with encyclopedia and the acting is as wooden as a fence #Tutankhamun
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