We dig him! Max Irons steals the spotlight from Tutankhamun in new British period drama

Published October 17th, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
The 31-year-old actor left fans swooning playing the famous archaeologist. (Radio Times)
The 31-year-old actor left fans swooning playing the famous archaeologist. (Radio Times)


Move over Poldark, there's another Sunday night hero in town...and this one's pretty good at digging for treasure too.

ITV's latest historical drama, Tutankhamun, is hot on the heels of Victoria and didn't disappoint those tuning in, particularly with the casting of its lead man.

British actor Max Irons, 31, plays Howard Carter, the archaeologist who famously unearthed the boy king's tomb at the beginning of the 20th century - and those watching the new series were quickly smitten by his brooding looks.  

The show, which aired in the coveted 9pm slot, documents how Carter, his patron the Earl of Carnarvon and Carnarvon's teenage daughter Evelyn, made one of the most important historical discoveries of all time.

However sophisticated the on-screen action was, all linen suits and cut-glass accents, some viewers were distracted by the handsome good looks of Irons, who's the son of Sinead Cusack and Jeremy Irons.

@geordielump quipped: 'Max Irons can toot on my khamun any day while @samanthakilford said she could forgive Iron's hair on the top of his lip, writing: 'Even with that moustache, I'm still in love with Max Irons.'

@CaitlainHoran added: 'Max Irons and Sam Neill are the dream team I never knew that I needed.'

Highlights of last night's episode saw Howard Carter, not yet quite on the trail of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, meeting a stark-naked Sir Flinders Petrie, who emerged from a dusty excavation site wearing nothing but a good covering of bird poo. 

Petrie, played by former Heartbeat actor Rupert Vansittart, then advised Carter on how to concoct a makeshift gin and tonic using citric acid in the colourful scene. 

While the First World War temporarily puts Carter's discovery on hold, there was more than enough to grip viewers in the first episode. 

The show quickly introduced Evelyn, the daughter of Lord Carnarvon, played by Amy Wren.

A passionate embrace between Herbert and Carter has prompted controversy and a furious response from the earl's great-grandson, who said: 'There was no romance between Carter and my great-aunt Lady Evelyn Herbert. 

'It just didn't happen that way'.   

However Tutankhamun writer Guy Burt said the story of the romance is 'emphatically not' an invention but a 'persistent rumour'.

By Jo Tweedy

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