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Watch Egypt online: Episode 3 The Pharoah and the Showman

Belzoni fails to please Pasha Ali of Egypt and his new career in 'water mechanics' fails. He is penniless and stranded in Cairo without work. Just 16 years after the invasion by Napoleon, the enthusiasm of Europeans for all things Egyptian is growing and there is intense rivalry between explorers and collectors - the rivalry is particularly intense between the French and the British. In Cairo, Belzoni meets two men who will change his life for ever. The first is John Lewis Burkhardt, who, disguised as an Arab, has travelled to unknown Egyptian temples that have remained lost from the world for centuries. The other is Henry Salt, the British Counsel General, keen to make his name as a collector. Inspired by the tales of Burkhardt, Salt offers Belzoni a job: to travel down the Nile to Thebes to collect a giant seven-ton granite bust named the 'Younger Memnon' from an Egyptian temple. The French have tried and failed to lift it, so Anglophile Belzoni rises to the challenge in order to bring it back for the British Museum. At the time, nobody can yet read hieroglyphics but the 'Youger Memon' is, in fact, the likeness of Ramesses II, the greatest of all Pharaohs. Belzoni discovers he has the perfect skills for the job: vast strength, engineering knowledge, maverick intelligence and wit combined with bravery and cunning, and the head of Ramesses II is soon on its way to Henry Salt back in Cairo. Flushed with success, Belzoni and his crew decide to travel further down the Nile to search for more collectable artefacts for Salt. Near the border with modern-day Sudan, they arrive at an amazing temple carved directly out of the mountain unbeknown to them, they have found Ramesses the Great's Temple at Abu Simbel. However, to Belzoni's frustration, he cannot find the entrance as most of the temple is covered in tons of sand. Intrigued and fascinated, Belzoni vows to return In parallel with Belzoni's story, the programme tells that of Ramesses II: how he came from a military dynasty and went on to reign for an incredible 67 years, fathering over 100 children and erecting some of Ancient Egypt's most impressive monuments.

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