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THE REAL DA VINCI CODE (article first published : 2005-05-2)

The recent phenomenal success of Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code has once again brought the Holy Grail and its myriad hunters into the spotlight. M-Net brings ITV documentary The Real Da Vinci Code to South African screens on May 6 after the première movie.

Dan Brown believes the Grail is neither a cup nor a dish, but a 2,000 year-old secret and just about the most important secret in the history of the Western World. To understand how he ends up at his extraordinary conclusion, ITV's Tony Robinson goes on his own personal Grail hunt in this entertaining but thoughtful inquiry. Travelling to the Middle East, France, Spain, Italy and America he gradually strips away the layers of myth to arrive at his own extraordinary conclusion, and reveals The Real Da Vinci Code.

The Last Supper lies at the heart of any quest for the Holy Grail, because the Holy Grail is the cup from which the disciples shared the wine. Or is it? The existence and the identity of the Holy Grail is one of the most enduring mysteries of all time.

Like so many Grail hunting epics, Dan Brown's book claims to be based on much research and fact, revealing the existence of a secret organisation supposedly set up to protect the Grail in the 11th century. It identifies Leonardo Da Vinci as one of the few in history who are in on the secret - one that can only be revealed in code. Could Leonardo's Last Supper suggest the Grail is altogether different and much more mysterious?

The Real Da Vinci Code sets out to weed out the truth about the Grail, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Roslin Chapel and the secret clues left by Leonardo da Vinci. Will Dan Brown's thesis prove to be fact or fiction?




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