SHEFFIELD, England – British TV viewers will see taxi driver Alan Billis become the first person in 3,000 years to be mummified like an Egyptian pharaoh on a show next week.
The 61 year old volunteered for the process after learning he had terminal lung cancer. Following his death, experts preserved his body, employing techniques used by the ancient Egyptians on the remains of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun.
Chemist Stephen Buckley carried out the work in Sheffield, northern England, with the full support of Billis' wife, Jan. The body is being kept in Sheffield for further research.
The process, lasting several months, saw Billis' internal organs removed and the cavity padded out. Moisture was taken out using caustic salt before the body was wrapped in linen.
Jan Billis said that her husband would approve of the results, adding, "Oh, he'd be in his glory. I'm the only woman in the country who's got a mummy for a husband."
Before he died, Alan Billis told the program's makers, "I saw a piece in a newspaper that said, 'Volunteer with a terminal illness wanted to donate body to be mummified.'"
He added, "People have been leaving their bodies to science for years, and if people don't volunteer for anything, nothing gets found out. If it doesn't work, it's not the end of the world, is it?"
The program, called "Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret," will be broadcast Oct. 24 on Britain's Channel 4.