Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Anna Nicole Smith will air on Channel 5 early next year.

Each celebrity will have their own dedicated programme looking at their sudden, unexpected and tragic deaths. In the wake of their passing, claims, counter claims, wild rumours and salacious theories were everywhere. But the real truth about how they died doesn’t lie in trashy biographies or internet rumours – it lies in their autopsies. These cold hard medical documents establish exactly what killed them and how and why it happened.

The fascinating thing about an autopsy is that if you know how to read it correctly, it doesn’t just tell you how a person died, it can tell you even more about how they lived. And furthermore, autopsies are non-judgmental; they are simply a scientific acquisition of facts, so in the case of a person that is well known, that objectivity can allow you to see them with fresh eyes, up close and personal and as if for the first time. The fact that they are a celebrity makes no difference at all. – Dr. Shepherd

In this series of three one-hour films, world-renowned forensic pathologist, Dr. Richard Shepherd will navigate us through the bodies of each of these three celebrities. Dr Shepherd was forensic pathological expert for the Inquiry and Inquest into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Dodi Al Fayed. Amongst his other work was providing the Attorney General with a review of the forensic pathological aspects of the death of Dr David Kelly and he was the forensic pathological expert for the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

The evidence revealed by the autopsy is enhanced by interviews with those who loved and laboured with the stars each film reveals the key life decisions and events that set each of them on an inevitable path towards death. A worker at Michael Jackson’s dermatologist claims that the King of Pop was injected with massive doses of opiates several times a week in the months before he died. The ex-boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith tells how the breast augmentation that made her famous nearly destroyed her. Whitney Houston’s chauffeur recalls how the singer’s extreme drug habits almost set his car on fire.

This unique approach will investigate the life and times of each of these globally recognised icons and offer new insights into their untimely deaths.

When each of these icons died it was global news, but the public version of their lives and deaths were largely built on rumour and conjecture. Our programmes use the hard medical facts of the actual autopsy findings – examined and interpreted by a world respected pathologist – and first-hand accounts by those who really knew them – to intelligently piece together these shocking stories, and reveal the reality behind their final, desperate hours. – Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor Factual, Channel 5

Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Michael Jackson, Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Whitney Houston and Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Anna Nicole Smith is to be produced by an ITV Studios company for Channel 5.

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