Timewatch - 2001-2002 - The Victorian Way of Death: From Body Snatching to Burning

Dan Cruickshank investigates the circumstances and rituals surrounding death in Victorian Britain by piecing together the fate of five apparently unrelated corpses. The story he uncovers is one of bizarre extremes - of bodysnatchers and the bodies they snatched; of inner-city graveyards so overflowing that the limbs of the dead could be seen protruding from the newly dug earth; of the great new cemeteries where a tomb cost as much as a terrace of houses in east London; of the suspicious resistance which greeted the 'heathenish' practice of cremation; and of the carnage of the Western Front where Victorian ideals about death - and the afterlife - were finally shattered by the violence of the Great War.


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  • Presenter Dan Cruickshank
  • Producer Jonathan Stamp
  • Executive Producer Laurence Rees