Season 6 streaming from 02 November 2023
Catch up on all seasons of Inside the Tower of London on My5.
Inside the Tower of London returns to Channel 5 on 02 November 2023 to reveal what goes on behind the walls of this World Heritage Attraction.
We pick up the story in March 2023, when the Tower was preparing for the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. The Tower has seen many coronations in its thousand-year history, but after the extraordinary reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the accession of a new monarch has seen the fortress transition to a new era.
With the coronation date now on the horizon, everyone is involved to get the Tower ready for the big day.
Header image: Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator, Tracy Borman. Courtesy of Channel 5.
Image: Ravenmaster Chris Skaife. © Historic Royal Palaces
Season 6, Episode 1
20:00, Thursday 02 November on Channel 5
As the Tower prepares for the coronation, top of the agenda is changing all the royal cyphers – or personal monograms of the monarch - around the Tower.
The royal cyphers are everywhere from buttons on the staff uniforms to sentry boxes, and one of the biggest updates needed is on the Yeoman Warders' ceremonial partisans. These ancient weapons would have been employed to defend the king or queen during the Tudor period, although nowadays they're carried by the Yeoman Warders in the much more friendly ceremonial parades and gun salutes at the Tower.
Elsewhere in the fortress, Assistant Curator Alfred Hawkins needs to oversee the replacement of the cypher on the iconic Jewel House, which signals the ownership of the priceless Crown Jewels by the monarch.
Over at the raven enclosure, Ravenmaster Chris Skaife's precious flock are under serious threat. A nationwide outbreak of deadly avian flu means he's had to make a tough decision and put his seven feathered charges under lockdown. Although the enclosure has been enlarged for them, Chris also comes up with some imaginative ways to keep them entertained.
Image: Historic Royal Palaces Assistant Curator Alfred Hawkins. Courtesy of Channel 5.
Meanwhile, Curator and Public Historian, Charles Farris and Yeoman Warder Barney Chandler investigate the fascinating history of Easter gift giving at the Tower — it didn't include chocolate eggs...!
The Yeoman Warders put their best foot forward in a traditional Easter Parade — it's the last time they’ll be wearing their state ceremonial dress bearing the late Queen's initials, and it's a fitting way to say a final goodbye.
And Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman investigates an incredible treasure, a beautiful gold sovereign ring found by a metal detectorist in Kent and now on display in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace. It's engraved with a mysterious bull symbol and a single initial and Tracy believes it could possibly belong to the family of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.
Tracy's hunt takes her all the way to Shurland Hall on the Isle of Sheppey, the ancestral home of one of Henry VIII's courtiers. Visited by Henry, Anne Boleyn and their huge entourage on the way to France, Tracy reveals that the ring might have been owned by Anne’s father Thomas, or brother George, before their dramatic downfall left one of them with their head on the block.
Image: Historic Royal Palaces Curator and Public Historian, Charles Farris. Courtesy of Channel 5.
Season 6, Episode 2
20:00, Thursday 09 November on Channel 5
It’s spring, and the Tower is now just weeks away from the coronation. Staff have been working hard to prepare for the new era, but one thing is yet to change – the Beefeaters’ iconic uniforms. These world-famous uniforms still bear the Royal monogram of the late Queen Elizabeth II, known as a cypher, and they must be updated to represent King Charles III.
Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller has drafted in master tailors Kashket and Partners for the job. But with hundreds of garments to create from scratch, getting them ready for a national press launch just ahead of the coronation will be a huge challenge.
And it’s not all out with the old and in with the new. Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran visits the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Hampton Court Palace, a priceless archive containing historic garments from a dress worn by Queen Elizabeth II to gowns worn by Princess Diana. The latest addition to the collection will be Pete's old uniform, securing a place for the Yeoman Warders in this amazing historic archive of clothes.
Yeoman Sergeant Jimmy James meets Keeper of the Tower Armouries Emma Mawdsley, to look at an exceptional archive of photos cataloguing Queen Elizabeth II's visits to the Tower.
Image: Former Chief Yeoman Warder Peter McGowran (left) next to Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller (now Chief Yeoman Warder) wearing their new uniform featuring HM King Charles III's royal cypher. © Historic Royal Palaces
Meanwhile in the Tower moat, big changes are afoot. In 2022, this space was transformed by Superbloom, a magnificent floral meadow garden in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Now Rhiannon Goddard and her team want to see the moat in bloom once again, but they are faced with hard, frozen soil.
Rhiannon calls in help from London’s last herd of working shire horses stationed at Hampton Court Palace. A much softer way of preparing the ground than using tractors, these gentle giants should make light work of tilling the earth - if they can adjust to the busy London traffic noises.
The Schools Team are running a competition for children across the United Kingdom, giving them the chance to design a Coronation Bench for the Tower. In charge of choosing the winning entries are Aileen Pierce, Nivek Amichund and Chief Yeoman Warder, Pete McGowran. Will they be able to narrow down the entries?
And Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman investigates perhaps the most influential woman in the life of Henry VIII – his beloved mother Elizabeth of York. She finds evidence of just how close the pair were, with Henry growing up alongside Elizabeth and even taking writing lessons from her. But her untimely death at the Tower just after giving birth to her seventh child scarred Henry – perhaps influencing him for life.
Image: Shire horses working the Tower Moat in spring 2023. © Historic Royal Palaces
Season 6, Episode 3
20:00, Thursday 16 November on Channel 5
It's May 2023 and preparations are underway for one of the biggest royal occasions in seven decades: the coronation of King Charles III. While Tower Governor Andrew Jackson and Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran are deep into the final planning stages, they investigate the role the Yeoman Warders played in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Meanwhile, Yeoman Warder AJ Clark is making history herself as she is preparing to be the first female Yeoman Warder to march in a coronation parade. Even her miniature dachshunds look the part back at the Tower in their specially designed coronation coats!
Image: Yeoman Warder AJ Clark. © Historic Royal Palaces
Outside of the Tower, Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran and Deputy Governor Debbie Whittingham walk the coronation parade route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. And Operations Manager James Murly-Gotto prepares for the Gun Salute that will take place at the Tower to mark the moment of crowning.
During the height of coronation excitement, Curator and Public Historian Charles Farris tells the story of Anne Boleyn's controversial coronation back in 1533. And while Henry VIII laid on a flotilla of boats and fountains of wine for his new Queen, not everyone was excited to meet her...
Finally, the coronation itself takes place, with the most senior Tower officials carrying regalia from the Crown Jewels in Westminster Abbey. The honour of carrying St Edward's Crown is bestowed to the Constable of the Tower, General Sir Gordon Messenger, whilst the Coronation Ring is trusted to Andrew Jackson. How will the Tower staff reflect on being a part of this magnificent day?
Image: Deputy Governor Debbie Whittingham. Courtesy of Channel 5.
Season 6, Episode 4
20:00, Thursday 23 November on Channel 5
It’s May 2023, one week following King Charles III’s coronation, and the Tower celebrations are far from over.
At the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula, the choir and orchestra will perform Handel’s coronation anthems in a spectacular coronation concert. The musicians are under intense pressure to perform the concert of the year in front of a large number of VIPs with just two days of rehearsal time.
Also going above and beyond are Dominique Driver and Charles Farris, who are reimagining the Jewel House's exhibits. One item due to be displayed is the outfit worn by the Earl of Caledon during George IV’s coronation. When Dominique goes to see the restored ensemble at the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection in Hampton Court Palace, she finds some interesting artefacts from the wild party in 1821.
Meanwhile, Ravenmaster Chris Skaife is facing a challenge at the raven enclosure. He has been waiting six months for his flock to be released from lockdown due to a nationwide outbreak of avian flu. Now that time has come. As they have grown accustomed to be indoors, can Chris convince the birds to return outside?
Tracy Borman, chief curator of historic royal palaces, is researching the jewels’ turbulent past. Oliver Cromwell turned them into coins after Charles I's execution. Tracy looks at one of the Commonwealth coins, which is unusually designed, and learns about the history of the regalia that now sit in the Tower’s Jewel House.
And finally, Historic Royal Palace’s new Curator of Inclusive Histories Mishka Sinha is being shown some of the Tower’s hidden finds. Assistant Building’s Curator Alfred Hawkins takes her to see the remains of a forge that were discovered underneath Mint Street. This sets Mishka on a path to find out more about the hidden lives at the Tower. Assistant Curator Alexa Stevenson gives Mishka some insight into the women who worked behind the scenes.
Image: Tracy Borman at the Tower of London. Courtesy of Channel 5.
Season 6, Episode 5
20:00, Thursday 30 November on Channel 5
It’s July 2023 and after 14 years’ of loyal service, including four as Chief Yeoman Warder, Pete McGowran has announced his retirement. As he prepares to hand over the Tower keys to his deputy and successor, Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller, Pete reflects on some of his most treasured memories from his time at the fortress, including when he gave Queen Elizabeth a private tour of the Chapel.
In the King’s House, new Tower Constable General Sir Gordon Messenger has settled in. His new home is packed with history - it was here that Guy Fawkes was interrogated, and it is home to the Tower’s oldest prison cell. The Constable is preparing to lead his first Whitsun Parade and Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran his last.
Over on the Tower’s defensive wall, a damaged turret on top of the Cradle Tower is in urgent need of repair. But the Tower is an ancient monument and every care must be taken to ensure that renovations are done sympathetically.
Image: Former Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran. © Historic Royal Palaces
Ravenmaster Chris Skaife is expecting a very special arrival – a new raven chick. The new chick has been raised in the countryside and Chris must make sure he gets used to the hustle and bustle of Tower life.
Historic Royal Palaces Chief Curator Tracy Borman is on the trail of Henry VIII’s troublesome niece, Margaret Douglas. Always a headache to Henry because of her connection to the throne, Margaret’s ill-fated choices would land her in a Tower cell more than once, as she tried desperately to survive the ruthless Tudor royal court.
Image: Ravenmaster Chris Skaife with a raven chick at the Tower of London. © Historic Royal Palaces
Season 6, Episode 6
20:00, Thursday 07 December on Channel 5
It’s July 2023 and the staff at the Tower are getting ready to bid farewell to Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran. Among Pete’s many remaining tasks at the fortress is a visit to Ravenmaster Chris Skaife, where he can find out the name of the baby raven that has recently arrived.
Meanwhile, Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller and Yeoman Sarjeant Clive Towell are preparing to step into the roles of Chief and Gaoler. Along with the new roles comes a photoshoot to celebrate the occasion. However, before they officially step up, Pete has a couple more matters to attend to.
It is safe to say that Pete’s time as Chief Yeoman Warder has come with a remarkable number of state occasions, not least including this year’s coronation! But before his retirement, Pete still has one more occasion left to dress in his Red State Uniform – a Gun Salute to celebrate Queen Camilla’s birthday.
Image: From left to right (at the time of filming) Yeoman Serjeant Clive Towell, Chief Yeoman Warder Peter McGowran and Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller. © Historic Royal Palaces
It is not all goodbyes, as new recruit Yeoman Warder Tracey Machin settles into life at the Tower. As the first nurse to join the Yeoman Body, what unique skills does she bring to the role, and what does she keep in her hat?
Chief Curator Tracy Borman takes a trip outside of the Tower walls to discover what an execution on Tower Hill would have been like, and why did the execution of Lord Lovat stand out?
Whilst the Yeoman Warders prepare for a big shift in their ranks, the rest of the staff at the Tower are also putting the finishing touches to Pete’s farewell celebrations. Alongside Yeoman Sarjeant John Donald, Deputy Governor Debbie Whittingham prepares a personal gift for Pete that will be presented to him at a private party in the Keys. Tower Governor Andrew Jackson is also getting ready for the event as he writes a speech for the Chief Yeoman Warder.
Image: New recruit Yeoman Warder Tracey Machin. © Historic Royal Palaces
Watch Inside the Tower of London
Explore the stories that come from the historic home of royal power in England - the Tower of London.
Medieval knights tankard inspired by the royal arms of England. Featuring intricate dragon detailing this beautifully designed mug has a detailed chain entwined around the handle. Perfect for re-enactments or a gift for someone who loves all things medieval.