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Producer | director

Documentary | Religion | History


Did 'Joan the English' really pull off one of the greatest con-tricks in history?



50' BBC / History Channel Co-production

with BBC Religion in Manchester

Shot in UK, Germany and Italy

First TX BBC1 December 1998


Produced and presented by Peter Stanford

Camera - Andy Jackson

Editor - Jake Bernard

Series Editor for Everyman - Richard Denton

Produced and directed by Ian Lilley

In the 9th Century, 'Joan the English' pulled off what is potentially one of the greatest con-tricks in history. Dressed as a man, she tricked her way into the papacy and reigned for over two years before being discovered - when she gave birth in the street. 


Despite evidence of some 500 medieval writers, the Catholic Church claim that Joan is nothing but a protestant invention. If she did exist, it raises serious questions about the Catholic ban on women in the Church. Peter Stanford investigates. 

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