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The Real Da Vinci Code -

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(generated from captions) I'm on a hunt for the Holy Grail, that supposedly underpin and for the facts 'The Da Vinci Code'. the best-selling novel,

is a secret society At the heart of this story,

for 1,000 years. which has guarded the Grail by Leonardo da Vinci himself. A society once headed Well, that's what I thought, a page at the beginning, until I came to

makes a surprising claim. where Dan Brown

The Priory of Sion, in 1099, is a real organisation. a European secret society founded secret rituals, secret societies, All of the art, architecture, all of that is historical fact. isn't it? It's an extraordinary thing to say, that no-one's ever heard of That there's a secret society possession for over 1,000 years that's had the Grail in its and does so to this very day. It's incredible. It's a con. Well, yeah, it is actually. a whole generation of Grail hunters. And it's a con that's fooled stretch back to 1890, The origins of this con in a remote French village to a priest who became mysteriously wealthy. was that he'd found treasure. The local legend

in south-west France, The village was Rennes le Chateau right in the heart of Grail Country. Fast forward to 1967. first of two major embellishments. The little local mystery gets the French journalist Gerard de Sede. This time, the author is had found not treasure, He claimed the priest

had found not treasure, He claimed the priest but an extraordinary mystery. And this is the story de Sede told. While the church was being renovated, the priest, Berenger Sauniere, some ancient parchments, discovered in a broken pillar

including these coded documents. was a complete mystery, What they meant it was a mystery of some importance. but clearly, BELL TOLLS Sauniere's bishop sent him to Paris Because, according to de Sede, to the church authorities. to show the documents to have become suddenly wealthy. And when he came back, he appeared He built a lavish villa for himself, in the garden. complete with expensive folly Not only that,

for something around the church. but he began frantically digging The implication was very clear. that was so important, He'd stumbled upon a secret that the church authorities

to buy his silence. were prepared to throw money at him

more of that secret left to find. And, presumably, there was De Sede had launched the hoax. Enter its first victim - Henry Lincoln, writer and broadcaster, 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail'. co-author of Rennes mystery, and was intrigued. He'd read de Sede's book about the enter a world where nothing, He was about to

not one document, was what it seemed. Lincoln and his co-writers But even so, extraordinary conclusions. were to draw some Back in the 1970s, set about researching the story writer Henry Lincoln in Rennes le Chateau, of a mysteriously wealthy priest bizarre world of the Priory of Sion. and was soon drawn into the He contacted Gerard de Sede, to decipher the two parchments. and together they managed The first was cryptic. to King Dagobert II and to Sion. "This treasure belongs "And he is there dead." The second was pure gobbledegook. "Shepherdess no temptation. "That Poussin Teniers hold the key. by the cross and this horse of God, "Peace 681, at midday. "I complete this daemon guardian "Blue apples."

At the end of it was a signature, PS. What did it all mean? understanding it was another. Deciphering the code was one thing, until he came here, Lincoln was at a loss, in Paris. to the Bibliotheque Nationale But Lincoln didn't just turn up here of finding something. on the off-chance Michael Baigent, he'd been directed. According to co-researcher, The first set of documents or made available to Henry, had been given to Henry, the Priory of Sion. through a group called tipped us off about other documents And the Priory of Sion also

in the National Library of Paris, what they were. which we then went to see And this is what he eventually found. the secret dossiers. The so-called 'dossier secret' - Actually, these are just copies, look at the originals because we can't virtually falling to pieces, 'cause they're they've been handled so much. only been in recent years. Although that's they were in pretty good nick. When Lincoln found them, extraordinary collection of papers. And they were a most bizarre and There's a whole host of genealogies the Merovingian kings of France, to do with and this fascinating thing,

of the Priory of Sion. which is a list of the grand masters include Leonardo da Vinci, there. And you can see the grand masters

Robert Boyle. Isaac Newton. Victor Hugo. Debussy. give us documents? Why would this group What did they want? because we assumed - We were suspicious, and I think correctly - trying to manipulate us. that they were in a particular direction. They were trying to lead us we got from this group, So every document we had to check and test. of checking and testing, And it took us years but at the end of it all,

proved accurate. everything we could check a remarkable portrait Eventually, they pieced together of the mysterious Priory of Sion. in the year 1099. It was founded as a secret society an ancient French royal dynasty It acted on behalf of called the Merovingians. as its military arm. It created the Knights Templar major events in Western history. And it had influence on That's a pretty astonishing CV. inside the secret organisation And amazingly, Lincoln's contact in a TV interview. agreed to discuss it wasn't material, what was it? If the treasure at Rennes by two co-authors - By now, Lincoln had been joined Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. which triggered the discovery As you know, the mystery which we eventually made, which triggered the whole course of research, was concerned with a small village in France, where a priest had apparently found a treasure. We looked into the history of that area, and the Grail kept surfacing. And the Grail, in turn, leads us into the bloodline. The trio somehow managed to connect Rennes le Chateau, the Priory, and the Merovingian dynasty to the very birth of Christianity. And if Gerard de Sede's account of the mystery at Rennes had been extraordinary, then Lincoln and company's was positively mind-blowing. And this is it. What the priest had discovered here at this church at Rennes le Chateau was a clue to the nature and possible location of the Holy Grail. But this Grail wasn't a cup. It was blood. Holy blood. The Holy bloodline of Jesus Christ and his wife, Mary Magdalene. A secret that had been suppressed by the Catholic Church for 2,000 years.

And who had left this clue? The Priory of Sion. A secret organisation founded in the year 1099 by a descendant of Jesus and Mary, that had kept the Grail safe for centuries, and does so to this very day.

In 1982, Lincoln and his co-authors published these findings in the book, 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail,' And the Priory of Sion was introduced to a worldwide audience. The book sold millions, and made overnight stars of its authors. I think the first day, something like 43,000 copies were sold. Really was a circus. The book horrified the church and academia, who both claimed it was hokum.

But ordinary readers lapped it up, and belief in the Holy bloodline took root. One of the converts was the future author of 'The Da Vinci Code'. The most important fact is that the Holy Grail is not what people think it is.

That is, that is part of the theme of the book. The Holy Grail is not a cup. It is something far more powerful. But as we'll see, Brown himself was just another victim of the Priory hoax. It was French journalist Jean-Luc Chaumeil

who was to reveal the truth behind the Priory of Sion.

Chaumeil began his investigations into the Priory at around the same time as Lincoln and co were researching their book. But he was coming up with a very different story. He found all the documents led back to the same three colourful characters. Gerard de Sede, who sparked it all off

with his book about the mystery at Rennes. Philippe de Cherissy, a bored marquis. And Pierre Plantard, the public face of the Priory of Sion.

TRANSLATION: Plantard was like a character from another era. An extraterrestrial in the eyes and smile.

A weasel. What was de Cherissy like? De Cherissy was a very erudite, very intelligent actor. He was difficult to understand because he used to drink too much. Like Lincoln, Baigent and Leigh, Chaumeil spent years researching the Priory of Sion.

And the more he read, the more he became convinced it was all a hoax. The parchments in the pillar, the dossier secret and even the Priory itself. Where are the parchments? There are no parchments. There was a legend of parchments treasure of Rennes le Chateau. that contained a code to the So they created some parchments. the existence of the Priory of Sion To authenticate, to prove in the parchments. they had to refer to it of Philippe de Cherissy. That was the work And he had proof. These are the original parchments with one important addition, and admission that they're forgeries in de Cherissy's handwriting. But there are other documents, aren't there? That there's the 'dossier secret'? The 'dossier secret' were, as you like, created to verify the whole story. (Whistles) What a job. What a job. The list of grandmasters, the descriptions of the Priory of Sion, the genealogies - all faked. According to Chaumeil this genealogy was actually copied from a magazine. Plantard cheekily added his own name to the end of a lineage of French kings. But he's about as royal as you or me. I have a 44 page document from Philippe de Cherissy, a confession, explaining how the thing, the whole thing was done. Chaumeil uncovered the real facts about the Priory of Sion. It did exist, but it was by no means an ancient organisation. by Plantard himself. It was set up in 1956 It only ever had four or five members a mountain in Plantard's hometown. and it was named after It was all a fantasy. the structure of a good hoax. De Cherissy says it has But why had they done it? A clue in Plantard's TV interview. had been designed to give credibility The whole scheme that he was a descendant to Plantard's personal fantasy and the heir to the French throne. of the Merovingian dynasty, because it was fun. De Cherissy helped him a surrealist group called Oulipo. And de Sede was a member of was a surrealist concept. The Priory of Sion created and performed It was a piece of theatre by Gerard de Sede, Plantard and de Cherissy. So you've got this extraordinary piece of theatre. They're all working together to create this imaginary history. Oui. C'est ca.

And more of a joke than a con until 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' was published, when the whole thing got out of hand. The book's logic implied that Plantard as a Merovingian, wasn't just a king-in-waiting but a descendant of Christ. He panicked and denounced it.

and de Cherissy ran for cover. After that, Plantard wrote a second book And Gerard de Sede he'd helped to launch. exposing the hoax When your father died, did he believe called the Priory of Sion? that there was an organisation several times that this organisation Er, no, I think he has said imagination basically. was a figment of Plantard's It is absolute piffle. about the Priory of Sion hoax. Only one question remains kicked it all off in the first place. The one that get his money? Where did Priest Sauniere isn't buried deep in some archive And the answer it's in Sauniere's own journals, on display in the museum at Rennes. He got rich through selling religious favours to wealthy nobles. A kind of "You give me 100 quid, "and I'll make sure God blesses you" scam. And here is perfect proof from his accounts - Thousands of masses that he sold in a village of only a couple of hundred people. A scandal certainly, but not really a very mysterious one. Chaumeil's expose emerged went to print. before 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' he warned Lincoln and his friends, In fact Chaumeil claims the whole thing was a hoax they finished writing their book. over a year before the three of you very early on Chaumeil says that he told that the whole thing was a hoax. Was that right? was never necessarily very close I don't recall it, but then Chaumeil to the inner groups of the Priory. the documents are fakes So his idea that you wouldn't accept? and the dossiers are fakes, No. with some of his allegations, But presumably you could engage a bit whole Priory is a surrealist fantasy which were, for instance, that the by two or three people, that was created and you inadvertently seized on it. He's wrong. Why are you so sure that he's wrong? Because I've seen the documents, I've researched them. I spent six years looking at material, and I'm satisfied that... the Priory existed. You might have expected, given the weight of evidence against it, that no-one else who's researched the Priory of Sion would share Baigent's view. journalist or academic who does. I certainly haven't met a single But then I haven't met Dan Brown. secret rituals, secret societies All of the art, the architecture, all of that is historical facts. It's been widely known, at least the last 10 years for the last,

and its 'dossier secrets' that both the Priory of Sion are complete fabrications. the Priory of Sion was dead, Just when everyone thought regurgitated the whole myth as fact. Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' has Travel agents are cashing in, around the book's landmarks in Paris. offering 'Da Vinci Code' tours

can't tell fact from fiction. Problem is, some of the tourists is the site of a former pagan temple, In the book, Saint Sulpice in the quest for the Grail. the location for a vicious murder One of the details about the albino Opus Dei gentleman murders this nun using a candlestick he takes from the altar. And they are, indeed, beautiful gilt-bronze candlesticks at the altar, but they are so large and so heavy

that it takes two men just to move one. So they are not a very easy weapon. Contrary to fanciful allegations in a recent best-selling novel, this is not a vestige of a pagan temple. ever existed in this place, No such temple it was never called a 'Rose-Line'. and 'S' in the small round windows Please also note that the letters 'P' the patron saints of the church, refer to Peter and Sulpice, not an imaginary Priory of Sion. A stone's throw away - the Louvre. the book's gruesome murders. The scene of another of with the 'Da Vinci Code' tourists. And it too is very popular Do you think that the book is true? A lot of it's based in fact. you can see in the paintings. A lot of the things described,

interpreting like him, or not. You have to decide if you're Hugely open. It's the interpretation that's open. Yes, a lot of... There's a lot of license there. But would you say you're entirely sceptical about it? No. It makes a lot of sense. Not entirely. I wouldn't believe 100%, but you can understand

how people could agree with it, for sure. So 'The Da Vinci Code' continues to cast a spell that blurs the distinction between fact and fiction. A point I wanted to discuss with its author. We asked Dan Brown to take part in this film, he's refusing all interviews but his agent said researching his next book. because he's busy my quest for Dan Brown's Holy Grail? So where does all this leave Apparently in tatters. and now, no Priory of Sion. No Cathars, no Templars, no Rosslyn in the secret itself? But perhaps there's something the carrier of the Holy bloodline? My final quest, was Mary Magdalene This is Milan. the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. And this is Painted on one of its walls

'The Da Vinci Code' its name. is the picture that gave an illustration of its central theme, The book uses the picture as

was the chief disciple, that Mary Magdalene that she was married to Christ and was bearer of his Holy bloodline. OK, here's the evidence.

This is Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' based on the story as told in the Gospel of St John. Jesus has just told the disciples that one of them is going to betray him and they're all shocked and horrified and now he's about to break bread with them for the very last time. But is everything as it seems? In 'The Da Vinci Code', the Grail historian, Leigh Teabing, to the Grail-hunter Sophie Neveu shows the painting was once married to Mary. as evidence that Jesus He says to her,

around the table. What do you see?" "Look at all the people And she says, "I see 13 men." "No, no, no, no, no, look again, He says, at the one in the place of honour. "and this time look in particular "To Jesus' right." And she says, "It's a woman." Teabing then goes on to point out in the composition of the painting. some curious features Jesus and Mary are joined at the hip, creating a 'V' shape. but leaning away from each other grail and female womb. The symbol for chalice, That 'V' is in turn, part of an obvious letter 'M'

for Magdalene or matrimonial. So did Leonardo da Vinci encode the secret of the Grail in his painting? Is he trying to tell us that this is Mary Magdalene and she was married to Jesus? Charles, when I first heard this allegation, that St John is actually a woman, I thought, "Oh yeah, that's one of those things "that a few dotty people say."

And when I see the painting I'll see that it isn't really true. you get here that you see But it isn't until that figure and all the others. the profound difference between isn't it? I mean it's quite extraordinary, Well, it's a very extraordinary face and a very beautiful face. as far as I would interpret it. But it's not a woman being presented here. There's a scriptural narrative was the disciple whom Jesus loved. The figure is that of St John, who As it says in the Bible. and scurrilous circles And in some sceptical

as a homosexual relationship. this was interpreted So there is a kind of tradition young man, a beautiful young man. that shows John as an effeminate that one finds from first to last And this is a type, of course, because that way his tastes lay. in the works of Leonardo Probably his last work, androgynous figure which is this meltingly representing St John the Baptist. emerging out of the mists So Leonardo's interest in beautiful, rather feminine young men is both a biographical truth and, in this case, is backed up by the scriptural story that he's representing on this wall. There is one piece of evidence that I find particularly compelling. This 'V' in the middle. You've got this great gap between the Mary/John figure and Jesus. They've pulled away like that. Now it seems a very odd thing for the painter to have done, because it's not as though the painter's revealing anything of interest behind. All we've got is a solid column in the middle of a window. Now why would you do that unless actually what you wanted to indicate was something about that space itself?

Unless you wanted to draw a 'V', a Holy feminine? You could say there's an 'L' on the side there, where it comes down to the table. There's a 'V' there, you can find an 'M'. The sponsor or patron of this painting was Ludivicus of Milan. Perhaps LVM stands for that. In other words you can find alphabet soup in paintings wherever you want.

Just by tracing shapes. Is it infeasible then, that Leonardo da Vinci would have used codes in this painting?

It seems to me, a misreading of the kind of man he was. He described himself once, in rather memorable phrase as 'a disciple of experience.'

By which he meant, observation, experiment, real - real things tested and observed before they're held to be true. He wasn't one who was a great believer, he was a questioner.

And so I would say, to look at this painting and try to rummage around in it for cultish, hidden meanings of that sort is the misreading of Leonardo himself. But in 'The Da Vinci Code', of course, she's much much more than just a woman. She is Jesus' chief disciple, a co-author with him of Christianity. She's his wife. She's the mother of his child and so the bearer of the Holy bloodline. She is herself, sacred. And the church suppressed this. And recast her as a prostitute.

This is a devastating proposition, that's engaged and enraged readers all over the world, particularly women. It suggests that the whole Christian Church is founded on a lie. It makes a laughing stock of the debate about the ordination of women priests.

And most dizzying, it suggests that somewhere in the streets today are direct descendants of Jesus Christ. And what's more, at least some of it's true. I'm back in Jerusalem, where the story of Mary Magdalene begins. And I'm going to depart from 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' for a moment as I try to establish what history tells us about her, starting with the Bible. After Jesus had been crucified, his body was wrapped in a shroud and then he was laid in a tomb. Many people think it was this one, and then a big boulder was rolled across the entrance. Then on the third day after the Crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, who'd been present at his death, came into the garden and she was astonished to find that the big stone had been rolled away from the entrance to the tomb. And inside it, Jesus had disappeared. And in his place, there was an angel who told her that Christ had risen again and she should go out and spread the news. And as she ran into the garden, she saw Jesus himself. In other words, she was the very first person to see Jesus after his Resurrection.

Mary was also one of only three of Jesus' followers to witness the Crucifixion.

But these are her only significant appearances in the New Testament. And most scholars thought of her as a peripheral figure, Egyptian desert some 60 years ago. until a chance discovery in the called Mohammad Ali al-Samman, In December, 1945, a peasant farmer made an amazing discovery. in a place called Nag Hammadi He was digging in the Egyptian desert and he was looking for sabkha, which is a kind of loose soil for fertiliser. which they use over there metre-high earthenware jar. But instead he found this he didn't want much to do with it And at first, there were evil spirits inside it because he thought maybe there could be gold in here. and then he thought, you never know, with his mattock So he gave it a whack

and there weren't any spirits. and it wasn't gold papyrus books covered in leather. What there were, were 13 So he took them home, and his Mum chucked some of them on the fire to use as fuel and the rest he either sold or gave away. Mohammed Ali had discovered and nearly destroyed what are now known as the Gnostic Gospels. And for biblical scholars, their discovery was dynamite. These were remarkable texts

that one of the first of them opens with the words, which the living Jesus spoke." "These are the secret sayings,

which the living Jesus spoke." "These are the secret sayings, some of the very first Christians. The text contained the teachings of of the life and death of Jesus. They include detailed accounts Mary's no longer a bit part player, In these accounts, she's a colourful character

of Christianity. centre-stage at the birth a gospel named after her. She's even got to have teaching from Jesus In the Gospel of Mary, she claims that were not given to the others. and understandings from Jesus particularly close disciple And that she's a his deeper teaching. to whom he entrusted between Jesus and the disciples, When there's a dialogue she doesn't always ask questions. Rather her role is to make answers and to make statements. The Gospel of Philip suggests too, that Mary Magdalene was especially close to Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas also suggests that she was one of the intimate circle of disciples. Well, well, well, perhaps there's something in 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' after all. their sacred object of worship, Because while this Mary's not quite she's not far off it. She's an important disciple, she appears to be Jesus' number two. she teaches doctrine and as both books suggest, What's more, her story was, by a male-dominated church. suppressed after her death the suppression of traditions, I think it's clear that as a disciple including Mary Magdalene with a bishop who declared has a great deal to do in leadership in the churches. that women should have no part from the fathers of the church, We also know church father Tertullian, from the famous a tirade against women, who tells us in how audacious they are. "These heretical women, "They baptise, they teach." He said, "You just don't know... in every masculine office." "They claim share sent a letter at Easter time The arch-bishop of Alexandria telling them out to the monks of Egypt

the illegitimate secret books that they should get rid of and kept in the monasteries. that they liked keep 27 of those books. And that they could the first-known list This is actually

that are in the New Testament, of the 27 books his letter of the year 367. in that letter, at the monastery, or several, It seems that some monk out of the monastery, took many books an ancient jar to preserve them sealed them into and hid them out on a cliff

Mohammed Ali some 1,600 years later. where they were discovered by Gnostic Gospels and Mary with them, The church had buried the in the dust of Nag Hammadi. came a few hundred years later The final indignity denounced her as a prostitute. when Pope Gregory the Great falsely more than 1,000 years. A slander that was to last this will be shocking stuff, For many people it's relatively close to the story not least because and 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail'. told in 'The Da Vinci Code' it's just the starting point But in both books and other bloodline theorists because they take the suppression and the evidence between Jesus and Mary, of a close relationship and they run with it. And, boy - do they run with it. talked of a relationship Some of these early books that was extremely close. between Jesus and Mary Magdalene kissing her on the lips. One even speaks of him jealous of this intimacy The other apostles are jealous, more than them. and they ask Jesus why he loves her

if Jesus hadn't been married. If we look at it from another angle, for a Jewish man of the time This is so unusual that it would have been noted, criticised for it. he would have been turned up in some documents. It would have that's convinced many people That's an argument but not biblical scholars. The Gospel of Philip says that, often on the..." "Jesus used to kiss her

And there, intriguingly enough, the manuscript breaks off. People have frequently reinserted, "he used to kiss her often on the...mouth" But that's a scholarly interpolation of what might have been there. We don't know where Jesus kissed her. It might have been on the cheek, the forehead, the nose, it could have been the mouth. But that doesn't necessarily have to have been sexual. to kissing in the New Testament We have six or seven references

the kind of Christian greeting. that was part of have anything sexual to it. It doesn't necessarily have to that Jesus had to have been married There are those who would say and religious mandate because of the cultural be fruitful and multiply. that the men should go out, by the culture's expectations. Jesus did not live He said, "Blessed are the poor". "Really? Blessed are the poor?" People would say, their understanding of what it was That would go so against and to be blessed with wealth. to be in harmony with God that Jesus was necessarily married And therefore I don't think that those who had and there's good evidence dedication to God did not marry. a strong spiritual is that the marriage of the Messiah The clincher for me, no pun intended, into somebody's gospel. surely would have found its way into any of the suppressed ones. And it didn't. Not even But fans of the bloodline theory go much further than just marrying the two of them. They claim the union produced issue, and that the resulting Holy bloodline is the Holy Grail. We call it the Holy Grail. But the French say 'San Greal'. that was written like this. And in medieval times in 'The Da Vinci Code' are talking, But when two of the characters that much earlier than the medieval, one of them explains to the other in the very earliest of times, were divided a different way. the two words Like that. In other words...Sang Real. And that means 'royal blood'. When I read that I got goosebumps. It was like, "Oh, no. No wonder."

is author of another book Margaret Starbird on which 'The Da Vinci Code' draws. 'The Woman With The Alabaster Jar', In she makes the vital link and the Holy bloodline. between Mary Magdalene She supplies the child. Starbird's version of events takes us back to the heart of Grail country. HYMN PLAYS To an annual festival in the French coastal town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

The locals are celebrating a popular and enduring legend. It concerns the arrival on their beach 2,000 years ago of a boatload of refugees from the Holy Land. The legend is that Mary Magdalene and her brother and sister and friends showed up in this little boat with no oars. And they brought with them, the Holy Grail.

'The blood royal.' Well you don't carry the blood royal around in a jar. It's actually a child that carries the blood royal. And there is a legend, then, that there is a child on the boat. That was the thing I think that struck me

when I started prying about this story. There was a child on the boat. Everyone thinks a child has to be male, but in this case the child on the boat was female. And her name was Sarah. Sarah means princess in Hebrew. And the legend calls her Sarah. So if there's a little girl on the boat and her name is Sarah, which is Hebrew for princess - well, who do you think she is? I just drew that...I just meant, I made a deduction. It was a deductive leap. And it's a deductive leap with breathtaking implications. Because if it's true, there could be people walking the Earth today, perhaps even you and me, who are descended through Sarah from Christ. Is there any evidence that Mary Magdalene came to France and brought a child along for the ride? Well, none I could find. Author Margaret Starbird seems to have muddled two separate legends. The one about Mary coming to France isn't from here in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The legend celebrated here has Sarah with two different biblical Marys in the boat. TRANSLATION: There is only Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome. This is really their festival. Two biblical Marys and neither one Mary Magdalene. And Sarah, whatever her name means in Hebrew, is no princess. TRANSLATION: Sarah was the servant. The Egyptian servant of the two Marys. She came with them from Palestine on the boat. There's no evidence that Mary Magdalene came to France. What happens is you get a lot of legends. They start about the 4th or 5th century and the whole of this becomes crystallised in the 13th century in a book called, 'The Golden Legend'.

But it is strictly a legendary tradition. It wasn't regarded as true, even in the Middle Ages. An object lesson in the pitfalls of legends. But the ancient division of San Greal into Sang Real, Holy grail into Holy blood, seems like a much more solid proposition. Of all the arguments that Dan Brown marshals in support of his claim that the grail is the Holy bloodline, this has got to be the most compelling. It's neat. It's logical. It feels authentic. It makes sense. There's just one tiny problem - it's rubbish. One of the key questions both in 'The Da Vinci Code' and in what appears to be its core source, 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail', is effectively a misreading of a 15th century writer. A man called John Harding was writing about the Grail, romances in grail history. But he mistranscribed the words 'San Greal' to 'Sang Real'

to 'Holy blood' instead of 'Holy grail'. Now Baigent and the writers of the 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' took this error as a core... suddenly a core revelation that this was the reality of the Holy Grail. That, in fact, it was about Holy blood.

When effectively they're just playing upon one man's error and playing it into suddenly a key revelation in history. unravelling in my hands. The bloodline is that first suggested Surely the author of the book had a child can help. Jesus and Mary Magdalene He must have something, that holds his theory together. some shred of evidence, that there was a child? Do we have any evidence There's none whatsoever. It's purely hypothesis on our part, it's a plausible hypothesis. but I think is the bloodline of David, If the Holy Grail Mary Magdalene had been married and if Jesus and and she was pregnant with his child, carried the Grail to France. yes, she would have we need to look at this material. And I think this is the way

Is it true? I don't know. Is it plausible? Yes. So the inspiration for 'The Da Vinci Code' and a whole canon of secret Grail hunts, is no more than a big guess. What Baigent and his co-writers have done is attempt to draw in so many... such a range of different ideas to throw out any real interest in basing their writings on facts. They actually say in the work, to interest in fact. you can't just confine yourself So effectively what they are doing of critical questioning, is throwing out all kind any idea that they can find, and just putting in

can possibly suggest. any links that they

and there's imagination. There's history, doesn't work like history And imagination like imagination. and history doesn't work that there's a secret If you want to say imagination, I agree with you 100%. which belongs to the world of the

the world of the imagination. But it belongs to it is a kind of alternative history. And it's no good pretending that hunting, I may be empty-handed So after 10,000 miles of Grail but I am a little wiser. It seems to me that 'The Da Vinci Code' has drawn on a range of sources dismissed by most historians as pure fantasy. So why has it been so successful? Because what he's done is what the romance writers did 800 years ago. He's put something at the centre of his novel that we'd all love to be true, but know in our heart of hearts, never can be. The Holy Grail. International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions provided by