Dominic Fontana's Staff Page at University of Portsmouth

Dominic Fontana's broadcast interviews

2000  “What Sank the Mary Rose?”, as part of the “Secrets of the Dead” strand for Channel 4 Television, made by Dalowsmithson, directed by Peter Bate. This one-hour film examined various theories about the sinking of the Mary Rose and concluded that overloading could have been a serious problem.

Watch the film online

Entry on the Internet Movie DataBase website IMDB

2001 “National GeoGenius” directed by Stuart McDonald, made by Granada Media for the National Geographic Channel. I was involved in the creation of this geographical quiz show. The show, game and studio were run from a computer system which asked the questions, measured the question and buzzer timings, kept the contestants' scores, ran the finished on-screen graphics and animated the studio set.  Dominic built the GIS which was crucial to the operation of the entire system. I was also involved in the development of the show from taking part as a contestant in the pilot programme through to the testing of the questions and the studio rehearsals. The show was screened from October 2001 to spring 2002.

Read about the show here:-

in 2008 the show format was exported to India. It has been made into a 13 episode, 30 minute show where it is hosted by actor and director Rajat Kapoor.

Read more about it at this link: --


Intro video at:-

Entry on the Internet Movie DataBase website IMDB

2002 “Bloodbath at Hastings” or “Who got lucky at Hastings?” in five’s Battlefield Detectives strand produced by Georgina Pye and made by Granada Media. This one-hour film looked at the managerial, logistical, technological and geographical context of the Battle of Hastings and considered the relationship between the opposing forces and the landscape.  Dominic Fontana's work using a Geographical Information System and aerial surveying techniques featured prominently in developing a better understanding of the events on that day in 1066. The film was first screened in 2003.  

Watch the film online: --

Battle of Hastings, Part 1

Battle of Hastings, Part 2

Battle of Hastings, Part 3

Battle of Hastings, Part 4

Battle of Hastings, Part 5


2008 “The Ghosts of The Mary Rose” directed by Martin Gorst and produced by Windfall Films for channel five. The film was shown as part of their “Revealed” strand.  This one-hour documentary explored the physical remains of the crew of the Mary Rose and sought to understand more about the individual members of the ship's crew as well as their geographical origins. First shown 5th August 2008 Channel five UK.

Watch the film online

Entry on the Internet Movie DataBase website IMDB

2008 “What really sank the Mary Rose” directed by Howard Foster produced by Red Lobster Media for The History Channel.  This one-hour documentary explored recent work undertaken by archaeologists, historians and geographers to develop a fuller understanding of the French invasion threat in 1545. In particular the film examines the work of Dr Dominic Fontana concerning the geography of the 1545 Battle of the Solent in which the Mary Rose was lost and developed the theory that the Mary Rose had been taking in water as a result of French cannon fire prior to her sinking. The film has been shown a number of times since it was released in November 2008.

November 2008 Dominic Fontana's work on the Cowdray engraving was featured on BBC's South Today programme.

Time Team

2010 "Time Team". "An excavation of the mediaeval “Domus Dei" site in Old Portsmouth." This one-hour film directed by Graham Dixon has been produced for Channel 4 for their 2010 Time Team season (Series 17, Episode 9).  Dr Dominic Fontana's work on the Cowdray engraving and Tudor mapping of Portsmouth is featured in this film.  The initial broadcast was 24th October 2010 at 1725 hrs.  The film will also be shown on more 4 and various satellite and cable channels.

Watch the film now on Channel 4 On Demand

2013 For the opening of the Mary Rose Museum, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, May 2013, Dominic was involved in films for both the BBC and ITV. These examined some of the events of the "Battle of the Solent" from an historical perspective, using the Cowdray Engraving to illustrate what was happening in July 1545 during the French invasion attempt.

BBC One 30th May 2013

ITV 30th May 2013

2013 The Cowdray engraving was featured in the second episode of David Dimbleby's four-part series "Britain and the Sea" made for BBC One. Dominic helped with the filming at Southsea Castle explaining the detail of the events shown in the picture to David Dimbleby. Britain and the Sea is a BBC and National Maritime Museum partnership.

Further information about the programme is here.

2013 Dominic took part in a film for the BBC looking at the ending of shipbuilding in Portsmouth dockyard announced by BAE Systems in November 2013.

Shipping Out: An Inside Out Special

Other broadcasting and literary activity

2008 Dr Dominic Fontana made a radio broadcast for Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s Euranet Network Europe program on 24th November 2008 about the sinking of the Mary Rose. The audience for this broadcast was around 9 million listeners.

2010 CJ Sansom's Shardlake novel "Heartstone"

The latest “Shardlake” novel, by best-selling author and CJ Sansom, was published on 2nd September 2010. The book entitled Heartstone follows his hero Matthew Shardlake on a mission for the Queen, Catherine Parr.  Portsmouth plays a large part in the tale. Dominic is given a very substantial acknowledgement for his help in describing Tudor Portsmouth and the events of the Battle of the Solent in 1545.

CJ Sansom's official web page

2010 Wikipedia

An entry about Dominic’s work on the sinking of the Mary Rose has been included in the Mary Rose page on Wikipedia. The Mary Rose page has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community and receives thousands of hits per day. (

Rather excitingly, I am also listed as a contributor to one of the books co-authored by HRH Prince Charles with Armand Hammer.  I took some of the photographs although this was many years ago. (,_Prince_of_Wales_bibliography)

2010 "Mapping Portsmouth's Tudor past" an exhibition of Tudor maps at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth. July to October 2010.

In conjunction with Rear Admiral John Lippiett CEO of the Mary Rose Trust Dominic Fontana curated an exhibition of Tudor maps at the Mary Rose Museum from July to October. The exhibition included the earliest scale map of any British town or city, which happens to be Portsmouth in 1545.  It is probable that the map was prepared for Henry VIII to assist in planning for the defence of Portsmouth against the very real threat of invasion from France.  The exhibition has been very well received and generated quite a bit of publicity including featuring on BBC South, a double page spread in Portsmouth News, editor’s choice of exhibition in the “Maplines” publication of the British Cartographic Society as well as several news web sites.

Here is the exhibition booklet

Some press articles about my work



Guardian - Plain sailing?

Yorkshire Post



Daily Mail