The Real Da Vinci Code (C4)

I HAD hoped to report on the misbehaviour of Hollywood stars caught on camera in five's new series Celebrities Uncensored. Unfortunately, the programme had all too clearly been censored.

The preview tape was blank - not a sausage, not even a rhubarb sausage as featured in GMTV's report on the Wakefield Festival of Rhubarb. These bangers sounded only marginally less unappealing than rhubarb cheese.

I had better luck with Tony Robinson and his search for the holy grail in The Real Da Vinci Code. This was the equivalent of reading a good thriller, although at two hours a long read.

The starting point, as the title suggested, was Dan Brown's bestselling novel about a modern day quest for the holy grail, the chalice from which the disciples supped at the last supper.

Or is it? The book suggests it's not a chalice but a bloodline - that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a baby, a truth suppressed by the Catholic church. The implications are that the Christian church is founded on a lie and the descendants of Christ walk the earth today.

It's a mystery that Robinson, assuming a more intellectual role than he does as Blackadder's Baldrick, couldn't resist, with the prospect of trips to France and Spain to investigate secret societies, the Leonardo Da Vinci connection and warrior monks.

"It's going to be one hell of a journey," he declared as he embarked on his trip, following in the footsteps of Dan Brown's hero.

The author has stated - and the programme showed the TV clip to prove it - that the art, architecture, secret rituals and secret societies in the pages of his book are historical fact. A bold statement and one that was looking shaky from the start, after Robinson found that the massive electronic research database at London's Institute in Systematic Theology mentioned in the book doesn't exist.

Not a good start, but Robinson wasn't just concerned with knocking the authenticity of the novel. His quest was more wide-reaching. He checked up, for instance, on the holy grail itself. At a Shropshire manor house, he found someone who believes he has it in his possession.

How disappointing to discover it resembled a rather cheap egg cup and not a silver drinking vessel. "Bit small, isn't it?," said Robinson, a comment that may have lacked archaeological insight but pretty much summed up my feelings too.

Its size fits in with the theory that it wasn't a chalice from the last supper but a first century Roman scent jar used by Mary Magdalene to collect a few drops of Christ's blood.

Another find was a book published in 1982, The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail, which proposed the notion of the secret bloodline of Jesus Christ, the theory that underpins The Da Vinci Code.

By the end, Robinson may not have found the holy grail but had established he'd found an intriguing idea for a documentary.