TV Appearance: Alford Recreates Assassination Attempt Against Napoleon for National Geographic


Dr. Sidney Alford was asked by True North TV to recreate the assassination attempt against Napoleon which took place on Christmas Eve in 1800 where Royalist plotters set off a barrel of gunpowder in the hope of taking Boneparte’s life. As part of the Bloody Tales series for National Geographic, the Napoleon assassination attempt will feature in the programme which is to be aired on Monday 22 April at 8pm GMT.

Known as The Infernal Machine, the bomb comprised of a barrel filled with gunpowder. This barrel was positioned on a horse and cart located on the Rue Saint-Nicaise. Napoleon was arriving at the opening night of Haydn’s opera Creation when a massive explosion took place near his carriage. The Royalist plotters lit the fuse as Boneparte’s carriage drew near.

This incident is the first ever VBIED incident ever recorded and although unsuccessful in taking Boneparte’s life, the power of the bomb destroyed several buildings and killed and wounded an estimated 52 people. Filming took place on 4 March at Broadmead Range. The event was a lifelike re-enactment of the actual incident and the scene was drawn up exactly as it would have been back in 1800 minus the casualties. The main components of the vehicle bomb were erected to include a model horse with a realistic cart containing a barrel of gunpowder. A young girl was paid by the plotters to hold the reins of the wagon’s horse and she was represented using a dummy.

The re-enactment with full footage of the explosion and the story can be seen by watching Bloody Tales on the National Geographic Channel at 8pm on Mon 22 April.