New Burke and Hare Documentary Examines Allegations That Murder is Fuelling Illegal Body Trade

A Scottish publishing company have announced the release of a new documentary DVD about serial killers Burke and Hare which also investigates whether killing to obtain bodies for profit persists.

Kennoway, United Kingdom, April 14, 2011 --( Orickle Limited, a publishing company based in Scotland, have announced the release of a new documentary DVD based upon the notorious crimes of the Edinburgh serial killers William Burke and William Hare.

Burke and Hare are Scotland’s most infamous killers, having murdered sixteen innocent victims in Georgian Edinburgh in the early part of the nineteenth century in order to sell their bodies to local anatomists who required them to teach dissection to their medical students. Commonly thought of as grave robbers, Burke and Hare never robbed a single grave, but quite simply murdered for profit at a time when fear of ending up on the dissecting table after death caused panic among citizens on the squalid streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town. When they were eventually caught, Hare turned King’s evidence on Burke, his partner in crime, who was hanged in front of a baying mob of 25,000 citizens. Hare then vanished into obscurity, his latter days being shrouded in mystery.

But this production doesn’t stop there. Unlike most stories of Burke and Hare, this is not a simple re-telling of a true tale of horror. “The Body Merchants; The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder” is a fascinating 60 minute journey into the nefarious activities of the Georgian underworld examining the socio-legal problems of the resurrection era which spawned the body trade; recounting the true story of the serial killers Burke and Hare, who terrorised Edinburgh in the 1820’s and revealing the secret dealings of Britain’s most prominent anatomists who chose to look the other way in the interests of science. Plus, “The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder” exposes the terrifying reality that these crimes are not just confined to history... evidence exists that they are still happening today.

The story of Burke and Hare has fascinated people for nearly two centuries and has spawned various tellings of their hideous and gruesome trade culminating, to date, in the latest Hollywood film “Burke and Hare” by Director John Landis. However, while the Landis film is portrayed as a dark comedy, “The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder” is a factual and honest portrayal of what really happened, with an investigation into the legal, social and medical issues of the day which led to the trade in bodies for profit and includes the real-life characters involved with Burke and Hare and their downfall. The subject has been meticulously researched and shot on location on the streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the stomping ground of the two murderers.

Leona Tyrie, Director of Orickle Limited and Executive Producer of “The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder” said, “While the Landis film is shot in a comedic, whimsical style, and is pure, and mainly fictional, entertainment, 'The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder' follows the true story of Burke and Hare and those involved with them. It was filmed on the very streets where Burke and Hare plied their trade in bodies and captures the essence of the squalor and deprivation of the times, illustrating the huge social gulf between the people and the establishment at that time. The other key element of 'The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder' is that, where all other versions of the tale stop after the execution of William Burke, this documentary explores the evidence that the sale of body parts and the exchange of money for them is still going on to this day in certain parts of the world and it is certainly not something which is confined only to history. I was fortunate to secure the services of several experts in their field to give in-depth analysis and commentary and they include Burke and Hare experts, together with historians and surgeons. Of particular interest, is a section devoted to The Burns Collection, a group of 200 year old mummified remains of bodies which were robbed from graves and preserved in order to teach anatomy to medical students, together with expert commentary from the custodian of the Collection, an eminent American anatomist.”

Said Leona, “I’m extremely proud of this documentary. The research, attention to detail and its re-enactments not only transports the viewer back through time into the harsh, dark Georgian underworld to recount the tale of murder, grave-robbing, deceit and summary justice but it also deals with the modern-day issues of the sale of body parts too and it forces the viewer to confront the moral issues of whether or not we, as a society, have progressed as much as we would like to believe we have in the last two hundred years or so. As with all documentaries, it serves not only to entertain but also to educate.”

Media enquiries:

Leona Tyrie
Orickle Limited
1 Kingsmill Drive, Kennoway, Fife, KY8 5LX.
Telephone: 44 (0)1333 352343
Orickle Limited is a publishing company registered in Scotland.

Orickle Limited
Leona Tyrie
44 (0) 1333 352343