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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Vikings lead BBC Two autumn attack
Blood Of The Vikings
Blood Of The Vikings will challenge historical myths
A fresh study of Viking history is one of the highlights of BBC Two's autumn schedule, announced on Monday.

Blood Of The Vikings sets out to debunk the common idea that the Vikings raped and pillaged their way across Europe - and uses DNA testing to show how Viking descendants live on in the UK.

Johnny Vaughan
Vaughan stars in his first sitcom
There will also be a new series of Louis Theroux's interviews with eccentric characters, a further series of Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef, and a comedy debut for Johnny Vaughan, 'Orrible, which he has co-written with Ed Allen.

Steven Spielberg's WWII epic, the series Band of Brothers, will also be shown.

'Perfect'

BBC Two controller Jane Root said of the series: "I was one of the first people at the BBC to see the Band of Brothers scripts and am thrilled it's going to have its first transmission on the channel.

"It's a brave and complex piece and, given our reputation for history, is perfect for the BBC2 audience."

History fans will also be able to see the results of a unique experiment, staged by the BBC and University College London, examining the DNA of more than 2,500 people to establish how far they are descended from the Norse invaders of more than 1,000 years ago.

Blood Of The Vikings promises to change many preconceptions about the invaders.

"The general notion is of Vikings with horned helmets raping and pillaging, but that is not really true," said a BBC Two spokeswoman.

Comedy offerings

"Many of them settled and we will be finding out the extent of that."

Former Big Breakfast presenter Johnny Vaughan's sitcom is only one of the station's comedy offerings.

Louis Theroux and the Hamiltons
Louis Theroux has been shadowing the Hamiltons
Returning to the station are comic hit Coupling, starring Jack Davenport and Sarah Alexander, and the dot.com drama Attachments.

Rob Brydon revives his story of the mini-cab driver Keith whose wife has left him, in the comedy monologue series Marion & Geoff - in which viewers will finally see his love rival, Geoff, with a cameo role for comic Steve Coogan.

Another new comedy stars Stephen Tompkinson - known for his starring roles in Ballykissangel and Grafters - as a grumpy charity shop owner.

Louis Theroux will present another series of bizarre encounters, this time including disgraced former MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine whom he shadowed during their questioning by the police and media over sex allegations.

He will also be giving viewers insights into the lives of Chris Eubank and Anne Widdecombe.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Spielberg epic loses prime slot
14 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
BBC unveils autumn line-up
13 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Theroux shadows the Hamiltons
22 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Longitude wins Bafta hat-trick
13 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
The weird world of Louis Theroux
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