Inside the Tower of London series 3

The Tower has seen more history than anywhere else in Britain – but 2020 has been one of the most extraordinary years in the tower’s history.

This series goes behind its mighty walls to capture everything from a high-profile royal visit by Prince Charles in February to total lockdown in March, when a small dedicated team keep the famous fortress going in isolation. Then, finally, the Tower reopens – doing what it does best, welcoming visitors again to soak up 1000 years of stories of kings and queens, whilst being at the heart of real history right now.

The Ravenmaster at the Tower of London holds a baby raven

Series 3, Episode 1

20:00, Wednesday 14 October on Channel 5

Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran standing in front of the White Tower on a sunny day.

In this episode, it is February at the Tower of London. As thousands of visitors pour through the gates they’re unaware that behind the scenes the staff have gone into over drive preparing for a very special event. Today’s tourists are in for a surprise royal treat: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are coming to the Tower to celebrate the Yeoman Warders’ anniversary. It’s the first time the Prince has visited the Tower in over a decade. But after days of meticulous rehearsals there’s a cloud on the horizon. Storm Dennis is forecast to hit just as the royal couple arrive. Fortunately it turns out the Royals ‘never cancel’ and finally, the red carpet is rolled out and the Tower team squeeze into their finery to put on a special state parade for the royal couple – who go on an informal walkabout through the crowds thronging the historic palace and fortress, with the Beefeaters providing the guard. 

Meanwhile the business of researching the Tower’s history goes on for Chief Curator Tracy Borman. She digs into the tragic story of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, a teenager who was executed at the Tower for failing to be faithful to her 49 year-old husband. History often paints Catherine as little more than an unreliable and flirtatious young woman, but she was the victim of power struggles between the influential men who controlled her destiny.

We meet Lawrence Watts, who became the Tower’s first black Yeoman Warder in 2016. Tonight he’s leading a small group on an ‘exclusive twilight tour’ through the Tower, as its lanes and buildings fall quiet after the main crowds have left.

And there’s a surprise for the Tower’s resident Ravenmaster, Chris Skaife.  A DNA test has shown that George, the new raven he’s raised from a chick, is not a boy, but a girl – renamed Georgie!

Series 3, Episode 2

20:00, Wednesday 21 October on Channel 5

It's early March and Yeoman Warder Barry Stringer is giving a tour as one of the Tower's newest Yeoman Warders. Coronavirus is starting to affect visitor numbers to the Tower, with fewer people visiting.

Eventually on 20 March, the Tower has to close to visitors. We see how the Tower Governor, Deputy Governor and the Yeoman Warders are coping during lockdown and what they are doing at the Tower during lockdown. We also find out how the ravens are missing the scraps of food left by visitors.

In June, the Tower has been in lockdown for 112 days but there is welcome news that the Tower can reopen in July. Staff start to prepare. There are lots of changes ahead like deciding on the one way route and social distancing signage to install to ensure that returning visitors can be welcomed safely once again.

 

Series 3, Episode 3

20:00, Wednesday 28 October on Channel 5

Yeoman Warder AJ Clark stands outside the Queen's House at the Tower of London

It is a red-letter day at the Tower of London; they are lowering the drawbridge specially in order to welcome back visitors after the longest closure in 75 years. Everything has to be perfect for a brand new opening ceremony as the great gates re-open and the crowds start to re-enter the Tower for the first time since March. Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran is ready to personally welcome the first paying guests to enter the Tower.

Before re-opening, everything has to be triple checked. The Union Jack that always flies above the White Tower is lowered and inspected and the Yeoman Warders have to swat up on the Tower’s stories.

Ravenmaster Chris Skaife needs to get his birds ready to mix with the public again while Chief Curator Tracy Borman is exploring a gruesome historical tourist attraction, the public executions on Tower Hill. Hundreds of thousands of people turned up to watch prisoners being killed in this large public arena. She investigates the story of the brutal execution of the rebellious Duke of Monmouth, beheaded by the infamous executioner, Jack Ketch. It took several blows of the axe to finish off the Duke. 

The re-opening day is a great success; the Tower is back!

Watch the show on Channel 5

Watch series 3 as it airs or on catch up on My5.

Catch up on My5
Photo of the Crown Jewels
Things to see Highlights

Prepare to be dazzled by this breathtaking, world famous collection of 23,578 gemstones at the Tower of London.

Open

Tower of London

Allow one hour

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A Yeoman Warder gives a tour to a group of visitors outside the chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula at the Tower of London
Highlights

Discover captivating stories of pain and passion, treachery and torture with our Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London.

Wednesday-Sunday

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Tower of London Deputy Ravenmaster attends to a raven with Tower Green and the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the background.
Things to see

Meet the famous ravens at the Tower of London and discover why they are known as the guardians of the Tower.

Open

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)