Secrets of the Dead: Bones of the Buddha
Historian, broadcaster, traveller
Historian, broadcaster and traveller Charles Allen was born in 1940 in Cawnpore (today Kanpur) in India, where five generations of his family had lived and served since 1790. He left in 1947 to be schooled in England, returning to the Indian sub-continent in 1966 as a VSO (British volunteer program) to teach in Kathmandu, where he met his future wife Lizzie. Since then Charles and Lizzie have travelled extensively through much of India, the Himalayas, Tibet and points east, including a year spent teaching English studies at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, where wrote his first novel. From the 1970s onwards, Allen combined teaching media studies at the University of North London with scripting numerous documentary programs for BBC Radio and BBC TV. The success of the BBC Radio 4 radio series Plain Tales from the Raj (1974), followed by his best-selling book of the same title (1975), led to his specialization as an oral historian and further colonial history series for radio and television. He subsequently branched out as a narrative historian and as a traveller. In this last capacity he made a number ‘off-piste’ journeys in remote corners, including leading three expeditions to far western Tibet to explore the ancient pre-Buddhist kingdom of Zhang-Zhung, the subject of a TV documentary The Search for Shangri-La.
With more than twenty-three books to his name, Charles is today an acknowledged authority on British Indian and South Asian history and in 2004 was awarded the Sir Percy Sykes Gold Medal by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs for his contribution to Asian studies. He is an active Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, a Council Member of the Kipling Society and a Member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs and the Frontline Club.
Charles’s early published work includes: The Search for Shangri La; Thunder and Lightning; The Savage Wars of Peace; A Glimpse of the Burning Plain; Kipling’s Kingdom; Lives of the Indian Princes (with co-author Sharada Dwivedi); A Mountain in Tibet; Tales from the South China Seas; Tales from the Dark Continent; Raj: a Scrapbook of British India; and Plain Tales from the Raj.
Charles’s more recent published work includes: The Taj at Apollo Bunder (2011, with co-author Sharada Dwivedi); The Buddha and Dr. Führer: An Archaeological Scandal (2009); Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling (2007); God’s Terrorists: the Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad (2006); Duel in the Snows: the True Story of the Younghusband Mission to Tibet (2004); The Buddha and the Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India’s Lost Religion (2002); and Soldier Sahibs: The Men Who Made the North West Frontier (2000).
Charles’s most recent published work is an Orientalist biography of emperor Ashoka, published by Little Brown in October 2011 as Ashoka: The Search for India’s Lost Emperor.
Charles and Lizzie today live on a smallholding in Somerset with assorted geese, chickens, ducks and guinea fowl.
Joint Founder of Icon Films, Creative Director, Executive Producer
Bones of the Buddha, executive producer
Harry Marshall is the Creative Director of Icon Films – a long established award winning, UK independent production company. Over the last 23 years Icon Films has produced over 300 hours of high-end factual content. Harry Executive Produces across Icon’s output, and directs the development team. His series for Animal Planet US, River Monsters, presented by angling explorer Jeremy Wade, is the network’s best performing series and now in its sixth season.
Harry was born in India, educated at Oxford and is based in Bristol. With a passion for storytelling, finding and developing emerging talent, both off and on screen, Harry spends much of his time meeting people, watching telly and improving his casting technique.
Recent productions include Leopards; 21st Century Cats (BBC / Animal Planet US / BBCWW); Bones of the Buddha (National Geographic / WNET / ARTE); The Hunger (Animal Planet US); Animal Airport (Discovery Networks International / Cineflix Int); Sandhurst (BBC4 / BBC2); Desert Seas (Saudi Aramco / National Geographic); and River Monsters (Animal Planet US / ITV Studios Global Entertainment).
2013 Bones of the Buddha, 1 x 60, NGCI, Exec Producer
2013 Leopards: 21st Century Cats, 1 x 60, BBC, Animal Planet, Exec Producer
2012 The Hunger, 1 x 60, Animal Planet US, Exec Producer
2012 Moon Rocks, 1 x 60, National Geographic, Creative Director
2012 River Monsters Series 4, Animal Planet US, Exec Producer
2011 Wild Scene Investigation, 8 x 30, Nat Geo, Exec Producer
2011 Jungle Gremlins of Java, 1 x 60, BBC, Animal Planet, Exec Producer
2011 Bite of the Living Dead, 1 x 60, Animal Planet US, Exec Producer
2011 Desert Seas, 1 x 60, Nat Geo, Exec Producer
2011 Wild India, 3 x 60, Nat Geo, Exec Producer
2011 Beast Hunter, 5 x 60, Nat Geo Wild, Exec Producer
2010 World’s Deadliest Towns, 3 x 60, Animal Planet US, Exec Producer
2010 River Monsters Series 2 & 3, 14 x 60 – Animal Planet US, Exec Producer
2010 Sandhurst, 3 x 60, BBC4, Executive Producer
2010 One Million Snake Bites, 1 x 60 – BBC / Animal Planet, Exec Producer
2012 The Born Free Legacy, 1 x 60, BBC, Exec Producer
2009 River Monsters Series 1, Animal Planet US, Executive Producer
2009: Airmen and the Headhunters, 1 x 60 NGCI / Thirteen, Channel 4, Exec Producer
2008: Flesh Eating River Monster, 1 x 60 five/Animal Planet, Exec Producer
2008: Crocodile Blues, 1 x 60 BBC, Exec Producer
2008: Romulus Whitaker and the Dragon Chronicles,1 x 60, NGCI/WNET/GI, Exec Producer
2008: The Mountains of the Monsoon, 1 x 60 BBC, Producer
2007: Travellers’ Century, 3 x 60 BBC, Exec / Producer
2007: Street Monkeys, 10 x 30 BBC, Exec Producer
2007: All About Dung, 1 x 90 History Channel, Exec Producer
2007: Nick Baker’s Weird Creatures 2, 8 x 50 Five/Animal Planet, Exec Producer
2006: Tiger Nights, 1 x 60 BBC, Writer and Director
2006: One Planet Living, 1 x 5 for World Wildlife Fund, Director
2006: Pride of India, 1 x 60 BBC, Writer and Director
2006: Tom Harrisson The Barefoot Anthropologist, 1 x 60 BBC Exec Producer
2006: Monster Croc, 1 x 60 HD WNET/NGCI/Five Exec Producer
2006: Nick Baker’s Weird Creatures, 7 x 60 Animal Planet/Five, Exec Producer
2005: Paranormal Pigeons, 1 x 60 Animal Planet/Five, Director
2005: Gangsters Wives, 1 x 60 Five, Exec Producer
2004: The Riddle of Einstein’s Brain, 1 x 60 C4/NGCI, Exec Producer
2004: The King Cobra and I, 1 x 60 BBC/Animal Planets, Writer and Director
2003: Holy Cow!,1 x 60 DDE/PBS, Director
2003: Diagnosing Darwin, 1 x 60 NGCI, Exec Producer
2002: White Slaves, Pirate Gold, 1 x 30 BBC, Director
2002: A Different Ball Game, 5 x 30 South America, Exec Producer
2002: The Great Cats of India,1 x 60 Granada/Animal Planet, Director
2001: Quest for the True Cross,1 x 60 C4/TLC, Exec Producer
2001: Yeti – Hunt for the Wildman, 1 x 6C4/TLC, Director
2001: The Berkeley Estate with Chris Chapman, 4 x 30 HTV, Exec Producer
2001: Temple of the Tigers, 1 x 60 – DDE/PBS, Writer and Director
2000: Indian Journeys, 3 x 60 minutes BBC2/PBS/CTVC, Executive Producer
1999: Journey into Amazonia, 3 x 60 minutes PBS/DDE, Director