BBC to launch podcast on 20th anniversary of da Vinci art heist

The Missing Madonna will feature never-before-heard secret recordings

BBC Sounds is set to launch a new documentary podcast series investigating the truth behind the theft of Leanardo da Vinci’s painting The Madonna of the Yarnwinder in 2003. 

The nine-part podcast series, titled The Missing Madonna, is launching 25 August, on the 20th year anniversary of the heist. It explores how Robbie Graham, one of the co-founders of PI firm Crown Private investigations and website assembled a team to help get the stolen painting back. The series is hosted his daughter, Olivia Graham. 

The podcast is produced by BBC Scotland, and comes from the same team behind successful titles such as true-crime podcast Bible John: Creation of a Serial Killer and documentary podcast The Cruelty – A Child Unclaimed. The podcast will be available to listen to in full from 25 August on BBC Sounds. 

“This series vividly brings to life one of the most remarkable stories from the art world. It has the classic ingredients of a thriller – plot twists, intrigue, jeopardy and larger-than-life characters,” said BBC Scotland commissioning editor Gareth Hydes. “The series will take the audience on a gripping journey, revisiting scenes which are crucial to the story and hearing from many of those who were involved in the drama.” 

Graham travels across England and Scotland in the podcast, speaking to both experts in recovering stolen artwork as well as people that were involved first-hand in the drama. It will also feature “never-before-heard secret recordings” and explore the huge impact the case had on Graham’s family. 

The Missing Madonna follows another recent investigative art podcast from the BBC, which explored the life and work of anonymous street artist Banksy through previously unheard accounts from a former employee. It also comes soon after Message Heard’s British Podcast Award-shortlisted show Who Robs A Banksy, which investigated the heist of one of the artists’ sculptures.