Documentary Film on the Tycho Brahe Project

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation Documentary Film on the Tycho Brahe Project

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) is to produce an hour-long documentary film on the project to open the tomb of Tycho Brahe in Prague, which is led by Jens Vellev and Aarhus University. A film crew will cover the project from 2009, when the medieval archaeologist went literally from court to court in search of permission to open the tomb, until analysis is carried out during the months following the opening of the tomb – with the results of the investigation set to follow.

Producer Anna Elisabeth Jessen of DR History and Science is delighted to have been given the opportunity to follow the project at close hand.

‘When we make historical films, it is often the case that everything is related by experts looking back in time. This is an outstanding opportunity to follow a group of Danish and foreign researchers as they attempt to shed light on the Tycho Brahe era, his life and not least his death. One element in the reporting of this project is the aspect of science and history joining forces to produce a new and unique story’ explains DR producer Anna Elisabeth Jessen.

The structure of the documentary film is planned to resemble a ‘detective story’, with the use of dramatisation and narration, ‘but without the exaggeration of fiction’, says Anna Elisabeth Jessen.

There has been a substantial amount of conjecture about exactly when and how Tycho Brahe died. Thanks to Jens Vellev’s project, which has brought together a strong international team of leading chemists, forensics experts, archaeologists and textile restorers, we will hopefully at last be given some answers regarding the circumstances surrounding Tycho Brahe’s death.

The project contains historical as well as scientific aspects which appeal to the producer. Furthermore, she is fascinated by ideas man Jens Vellev, the driving force behind the project becoming a reality.

‘It has not been easy to get all of the Czech authorities interested in the project, let alone obtain permission to carry out the tomb opening. Tycho Brahe is buried in a Catholic church, and you can’t just go disturbing burial places. The documentary film also contains a portrait of Jens Vellev, she explains.

The film project has also been presented to national television stations in the other Nordic countries, and Anna Elisabeth Jessen is confident that the documentary will be aired in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Negotiations for a co-production agreement are also underway with German channel ZDF, American station PBS and the Czech broadcaster Ceska Televize.