The Voynich Manuscript
BBC4, Monday, December 9, 9-9.50pm
BBC2, Saturday, December 14, 9-10pm
Two Ivy League historical mysteries to ponder over the Christmas break. The medieval manuscript that a Polish antiquarian bookseller, Wilfried Voynich, claimed to have discovered in an Italian monastery in the 1920s is now in a library at Yale University, still defying all attempts to decode it. And Harvard medical school was the scene in 1849 of the murder of Dr George Parkman, for which another doctor, John Webster, was tried. Did he kill Parkman, his creditor, or was he set up by the school caretaker? Simon Schama recalls the case.