Carter's fledgling career in Egyptology suffers a blow when a tomb he opens to huge fanfare is found to be empty. Undeterred from his ambitions, Carter parts company from his partner, Thedore Davis, and resumes his work as an archaeological artist and desperately hopes he will find a new patron.
A meeting with the maverick Lord Carnarvon is to change Carter's life forever. Carnarvon - who has come to Egypt to recover from a horrific car accident - has become obsessed with finding an undamaged tomb and teams up with Carter in the search for the elusive burial site of the Boy King Tutankhamun.
They begin digging but are unable to excavate The Valley of the Kings as Carter's old rival, Davis, owns the only concession to excavate.
By 1912, Davis believes he has discovered all the major finds in The Valley, including the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Carter, certain that Tutankhamum remains undiscovered, persuades Carnarvon to secure the permit to continue to excavate in The Valley of the Kings.
However, just as the team begin work, war breaks out with Germany and the dig is suspended. Carter and Carnarvon resume their work with renewed vigour when the war ends and The Valley of the Kings is explored piece by piece.
Excavations continue until 1922, when, frustrated with the lack of progress and nearing financial ruin, Carnarvon decides to pull out.
Carter is devastated and pleads with him to reconsider, even offering to pay for the dig himself. Eventually Carnarvon relents and, while excavating the very last plot, the water boy discovers a step that appears to be part of a tomb.
Carnarvon and his daughter, Evelyn, watch nervously as Carter makes a hole in the first plaster-sealed entrance. Placing a candle through the opening, he is stunned by what he sees: an antechamber filled with all sorts of Royal possessions, including amazing golden chariots and other 'wonderful things' to take the Pharaoh to his afterlife.
Instead of immediately summoning the authorities, as is Egyptian law, Carnarvon persuades Carter to make a small hole in the next chamber. He finds that it is an intact burial chamber and realises that he has finally found his own Holy Grail - the last resting place of Tutankhamun.
In parallel with Carter's story, the programme traces the first year of the reign of King Tutankhamun. Ascending to the throne at the age of nine, the Boy King was made to marry his half-sister, Ankhesanamun; between them, they were expected to continue the dynasty.
One of the new King's first acts would have been to start work on the building of his tomb - work that would continue until his death. Share this article with your friends