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BBC Documentaries: Season 2008

2008x93 The Saint and the Hanged Man

  • 2008-04-16T20:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

Rob Brydon narrates a dramatised/animated documentary which reveals the clash at the heart of the Medieval mind - between the reason and the supernatural - using rational process to dissect the divine.

In 1307 the full weight of medieval justice descended on the sleepy town of Hereford. But this court wasn't summoned to prove innocence or guilt. The man on trial wasn't a murderer, or a criminal. In fact he wasn't even alive. This was a holy inquiry, called by the Catholic Church to prove whether a dead English bishop was actually a miracle-worker - and whether he should be made into a saint.

His case comprised several alleged miracles, the most notorious being the spectacular resurrection of a hanged man. A Welsh terrorist executed by the state, hanged twice just to make sure, this wanted criminal somehow came back from the dead. And now a papal court would use all the instruments of legal process - witness statements, forensic evidence, cross examination - to prove whether it was truly a miracle.