Tourist office snubs Holy Grail podcast

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THE BBC and Channel 4 Radio are making shows about Hertford’s links to the Holy Grail, despite a lack of information from the town council and tourist office. Comedian Danny Robbins, the presenter of BBC2 programme The Culture Show, visited the county town to investigate its links to the Knights Templar, who some believe hid the cup of Christ. But when his producer, Tom Wright, spoke to the tourist office, he was left disappointed.

Mr Wright, who produced the show to go out as a podcast on Channel 4’s online radio station on November 30, said: “It was a surprise really that Hertford’s tourist office was so reticent in the making of our programme as there are loads of things to recommend to tourists. “I thought that Hertford was surprisingly pretty and without that feeling you get in so many English towns of the same chain stores ruining every local business.”

He was drawn to the town by the Mercury‘s stories about Hertford’s Templar heritage. Four of the ancient warrior monks were imprisoned in Hertford Castle over some missing treasure, which some have speculated could even include the grail. We have shown how the Templars used a series of tunnels beneath the town.

“It would be fascinating to see what an exploration of Hertford’s tunnels would reveal,” said Mr Wright, who also visited Royston Cave, which has Templar links too.”

This week, it emerged that the BBC also received a cool welcome when it told the town council about its plans for a TV grail hunt in Hertford. Nicola Colley, a producer for the BBC’s factual and learning department, said: “When we asked the council about filming in Hertford and for some information on the Templars they said, ‘We don’t do that sort of thing here’. I was amazed.” Last year, the town council rejected requests from current affairs programme 60 Minutes, in Australia, and Germany’s ZDF TV, which were following up the Mercury’s stories.

Marketing and promotions manager Susanne Mead said the town council and tourist office had no information to supply to the broadcasters, as “nothing has been identified at the Castle which can be linked to the Templars”. But she said: “When the town council’s promotional literature on Hertford’s history is next updated, consideration will be given to including any factual information available on the Templars’ place in the town’s history.”