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todayJune 20, 2020 7

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Mad Alice of the award winning Bloody Tour of York has released a special four part documentary series available on YouTube called The Bloody Tour of the York Walls.

The series follows tour guide Mad Alice along the historic medieval city walls as she reveals the dark and disturbing history of the walls and surrounding landmarks.  Each gateway has its own story to tell; Micklegate bar is famously where they spiked the heads of traitors. Bootham Bar was attacked by Scottish rebels in 1319. Monk Bar has hidden trapdoors that were known as Murder Holes and Walmgate Bar was nearly completely destroyed by the Parliamentarians during the Siege of York in 1644. As well has focusing on the walls themselves, the series will also feature gruesome landmarks along the route such as the cholera graveyard, the Red Tower and the car park at St. George’s Field which was once the home of the gallows in the 19th Century.

Each 30 minute episode will focus on one of the four gateways and adjoining wall beginning with Micklegate Bar. Episode 2 will look at Bootham Bar. Episode 3 features Monk Bar and the final episode runs from Walmgate Bar back to Micklegate Bar. The series has been created so that viewers can follow every step around the walls and gives helpful advice on what to do and where to visit once they get here.

The York City Walls span 1900 years of history. The first stone walls were built by the Romans in the 2nd Century. Over the years they have been fortified and expanded by the Vikings in the 9th Century, the Normans from the 11th century and the Victorians in the 19th Century who added much of the walkways that are used today.

The York City Walls have been closed to the public since the COVID-19 lockdown began mid-March. There are currently plans to reopen the walls within the next few weeks operating a one –way system to comply with social distance regulations.

Mad Alice, whose real name is Alicia Stabler, said:

“As the city walls are currently closed to the public, I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore the dark history and reveal the stories that have been forgotten. It’s a great way to promote York and it offers an insight to visitors who would ordinarily be unable to access the walls due to stairs and narrow walkways. There have been lots filmed about the generic history of the walls, but I wanted to focus on the grislier details.

“What started as a little idea of how to promote the city has now turned into an exciting project. The City of York Council was kind enough to grant me access over 2 days to capture beautiful blue skies at dawn and Simon Mattam from the Friends of York Walls group has helped to oversee the script, keeping the history as accurate as possible.”

The series has enlisted the help of other local artists including Adam Greenwood of Special Day Films who has directed and edited the series and to complete the project, the award winning comedian Alasdair Beckett-King, who also works as a part time animator, has created an animated map that follows the path of Mad Alice.

Photo Credit: Matthew Kitchen Photography Mad Alice at the Entrance to the City Walls, Baile Hill, York.

The Bloody Tour of York has recently won a Visit York Tourism Award for Experience of the Year and won last year’s Guided Tour of the Year. Like many other tourist attractions across the country, the tour has had to temporarily shut down due to lockdown and adapt to find another audience.

“As someone who is self-employed with the tours as my main source of income, you can imagine I haven’t made a penny since mid-March due to COVID-19 so I’ve recently turned my attention to online virtual tours on Facebook and YouTube which have been a tremendous success. Viewers are able to pay what they feel the tour is worth by donating to The Bloody Tour of York ‘virtual tip jar’ via PayPal. It’s feels great to be earning an income, support other local artists and entertain visitors from around the world.

“We’re all really proud of this project that if people like the videos and if we can raise more funds or sponsorships, we might do more ‘Bloody Themed’ videos about the city. With 2000 years of history, there’s so much to talk about!”

Each episode will be released on subsequent Mondays starting 22nd June at 7pm and is available on The Bloody Tour of York’s YouTube Channel. Viewers can contribute to the “Virtual Tip Jar” at

Written by: YO1 Radio Web Team

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