Exposing the undercover dealings of enemy agents and the MI5 counter deception known as the double cross system, in the Second World War. Captured German spies were turned into double agents and used to deceive the Axis forces. These agents played a crucial role in the success of the Normandy landings Includes interviews with Pat McCallum, who was in charge of the double agents’ files at MI5, Anthony Simkins, former Deputy Director of MI5, as well as members of the German Abwehr military intelligence service.
It is unique in the Roman World. A spectacular and complex stone barrier measuring 74 miles longand up to 15 feet high and 10 feet thick. For 300 years Hadrian’s Wall stood as the Roman Empire’s most imposing frontier and one of the unsung wonders of the ancient world. Almost 2,000 years after it was built, Hadrian’s Wall is proving to be a magical time capsule – a window into the human past. Archaeologists have properly excavated less than 1per cent of it, but they have unearthed extraordinary findings. With presenter Julian Richards Timewatch journeys back through time to unlock the secrets of a lost world.
In 1986 a group of Romanian scientists working near the Black Sea stumbled upon one of the most amazing discoveries of this centuryone that would revolutionize our understanding of what life is and where it came from. Geologist and cave explorer, Christian Lascu, was inspecting a series of six test wells at a site where the government was planning on building a power station, the first five bore holes yielded nothing unusual and the sixth looked equally unpromising at first. The workers were inside and said they found a small hole. The geologist dug and realized there was a cave there. His task was to explore the well and insure that the limestone bedrock would support the foundations of the power station. The strong sulphurous smell at the bottom drew him on into the unknown, he reached a small sulforous lake and saw many small animals. He knew immediately this cavern was unique, where had these bizarre animals come from and how could they survive in this hostile environment deep underground?
Robert Beckford explores the historical evidence for claims that Jesus had brothers and sisterscousins, aunts, uncles and nephews, as well as a deep friendship with Mary Magdalene. Beckford and many other theologians believe that Jesus did indeed have an extended family that survived some 300 years after his death. However, they have been airbrushed from history and excised from the Bible as the result of a power struggle in the early church. The idea that Jesus was a divine being is backed by the claim that his mother Mary was a virgin and that his birth was the miraculous work of God. There is evidence from the Gospels and other documents that Mary and Joseph had other children besides Jesus, and that he grew up in an ordinary Jewish family, surrounded by brothers and sisters. For most Christians Mary’s virginity is central to their faith, and many consider it heresy to suggest that Jesus was not her only child.
The Tomb of the Red Queen is a burial chamber containing the remains of an unknown noblewoman located inside Temple XIII in the ruins of the ancient Maya city of Palenquenow the Palenque National Park, in the Chiapas state in southern Mexico. It has been dated to between 600 and 700 A.D. The tomb was discovered in 1994 by the Mexican archeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez Cruz. It takes its popular name from the fact that the remains of the noblewoman and the objects in the sarcophagus were covered with bright red cinnabar powder when the tomb was discovered. Discover the secrets of the identity of the Red Queen in this amazing documentary.
The Real Da Vinci Code ought to be the last word among plentiful video debates over the validity of startling claims in Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. Produced by Britain’s Channel Four Television and broadcast on the Discovery Channel in the U.S.the irreverent but no-nonsense documentary systematically dismantles so called historical facts Brown embraced (not only in his story, but in interviews) to support the idea that the Holy Grail is actually the blood lineage of Jesus, carried by descendants of his child by Mary Magdalene. Hosted by Tony Robinson (Blackadder’s Baldrick), The Real Da Vinci Code hopscotches through France, Scotland, Israel, Italy, Spain, and America to investigate evidence that the major historical players in Brown’s alternative Grail legend, the heretical Cathars, the wealthy but persecuted Knights Templar, the secretive Priory of Sion, did the things Brown (and his research sources) said they did.
The Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in November 1947 was a day of national celebration. But the young couple’s path to the altar had been strewn with controversy and difficulties. Behind the smiling faces and the colourful regalia lay a story of political machination public hostility and court intrigue. This documentary captures the story of the princess from the moment when her love life became a matter of dynastic and political importance. It shows how Philip’s suitability was called into question. The stakes could not have been much higher the popularity and therefore the future of the monarchy itself.
Tensions and conflict arose between the Queen Mother and Prince Philip behind the scenes leading up to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. The Queen’s Coronation Behind Palace Doors includes dramatic re-enactments and interviews with leading royal biographers Hugo VickersSarah Bradford, Tim Heald, Piers Brendon and Gyles Brandreth, Maids of Honour Lady Anne Glenconnerand and photographers’ assistants Michael Dunne and John Drysdale, and former House of Hartnell employee Michael Talboys. King George VI died prematurely on 6 February 1952, aged 56, thrusting his twenty five year old daughter Elizabeth onto the throne. The Queen Mother was forced to stand aside Elizabeth was caught in the middle. Prince Philip wanted to showcase a thoroughly modern monarchy whilst the traditionalists, including the Queen Mother, saw no reason for change.
Starts with an old fashioned British Pathe title card and plays just like an old extended newsreel. No controversyno real questioning of the Queen Mother’s motives or choices, but an interesting first in depth look. Labelled by Hitler as the most dangerous woman in Europe but known more affectionately as the Little Duchess then the Queen Mother she reinvigorated the Royal Family. This is the story of how the nation’s favourite grandmother carved a place in her nation’s hearts forever. A Woman of her Century is a biographical celebration of her long and distinguished life.
A charismatic original Ivor Gurney, who prior to the Great War had suffered a nervous breakdown at the Royal College of Music, enlisted as an experiment, he actually found the war invigorating and for a while his mental health improved. Unlike the other war poets Gurney wasn’t a commissioned officer, he was an ordinary front line soldier. A private. The poetry he wrote there is uniquely powerful, capturing the experience of the ordinary soldier, and the this documentary argues that it is the equal of the work of any of the more well known soldier poets of WWI.
Over three thousand years ago legend has it that Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh, sent a fleet of ships to the wonderful, distant land of Punt. A bas-relief in the temple where she is entombed in Luxor shows them bringing back extraordinary treasures. But did this expedition really happen? And if it did, where exactly is the land of Punt?
Simon Armitage presents the extraordinary story of the most disturbing witch trial in British history and the key role played in it by one nine year old girl. Jennet Devicea beggar girl from Pendle in Lancashire, was the star witness in the trial in 1612 of her own mother, her brother, her sister and many of her neighbours and, thanks to her chilling testimony, they were all hanged. Armitage explores the lethal power and influence of one child’s words – a story of fear, magic and demonic pacts retold partly with vivid and innovative hand drawn animation.
Britain’s National Health Service celebrates its sixtieth birthday on 5 July this year. It is universally regarded as a national treasurethe most remarkable achievement of post war Britain. Yet, surprisingly, the National Health Service very nearly did not happen at all. In the months leading to its launch it was bitterly opposed, by the Tory Party, the national press and Britain’s 20,000 doctors. To get the NHS at all required the persistence and determination of one man, Nye Bevan, Labour’s minister of health. This film tells the extraordinary story of the six months leading up to its traumatic birth.
Documentary about the painters Augustus John and his young protege James Dickson Innes whoin 1911, left London for the wild Arenig Valley in North Wales. Over three years, they created a body of work to rival the visionary landscapes of Matisse. The paintings were the entry point for British art into Post-Impressionism. The Arenig mountain had such a hypnotic fascination for Innes that in 1910 he committed Arenig Fawr obsessively to canvas in a free and impulsive way which, one expert said, no British artist had yet managed. His work excited John, older by nine years, into following him up to North Wales, in due course bringing his chaotic menage along too. It was a fruitful stay. In John’s paintings the mountain’s contours had to compete with a figure, invariably a sinewy female and often swathed in swirling Romany scarves, parked foursquare in the foreground. One of these women was the sultry beauty Euphemia Lamb who bedded both men (among many others) and who would break Innes’s heart. But the profounder relationship of the two men seems to have been, on a creative level, with each other and with the landscape.
At a time when immigration reform continues to be one of the most heated topics in political and business circles this feature length special reexamines the controversial war that resulted in the United States taking control of what was nearly half of Mexico’s territory. Featuring lavish reenactments, and interviews with both Mexican and American historians to tell the story of President Polk’s desire to expand US territory to the Pacific Ocean. Hosted by Oscar de la Hoya.
Has the tomb of Jesus Christ been found? Since the 1970shundreds of tombs and thousands of ossuaries (limestone bone boxes) have been discovered in the Jerusalem area. These ossuaries served as coffins in first century Jerusalem. One of these tombs was found to contain ten ossuaries. Six of the ossuaries in this tomb have inscriptions on them. As it turns out, every inscription in this particular tomb relates to the Gospels. This documentary makes a case is made that the 2,000 year old Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.
The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru hit the headlines in 2001. The site is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilization in the Americas and at 2,627 B.C., is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology – a mother city. If so then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology why did humans become civilised?
The Lost Mummy of Imhotep uncovers what may be Egypt’s fabled city of the dead and the legendary Imhotep buried beneath the sands of Saqqara. At the dawn of Egyptian civilization, Imhotep built the first pyramid, became legendary as a physician and governed the greatest state on earth. The ancients made him a god, and Hollywood made him The Mummy. But few realize that the character was based on one of the most important figures in all of ancient history a man historians have called the world’s first known genius. For some archaeologists Imhotep’s lost burial site has been the Holy Grail of Egyptology. Now, at long last, Polish archaeologist Karol Mysliwiec may indeed have found him.
Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as OxfordTimbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans. Viewers meet local scholars, as well as experts from across Africa and the Western world, who elucidate just how valuable these fragile treasures are to our knowledge of Africa, Islam, and the growth of literacy outside the Western tradition.
Dukedoms are created by the monarch for reasons ranging from a grateful nation rewarding a major war leader to a king acknowledging his illegitimate son. The last dukedom to be created was by Queen Victoria. As they gradually become extinct what will become of those that remain? Do they still have power and wealth? What is it to be a duke in the 21st century? Answers come from a surprising variety of extraordinary character.
One August morning in 1826two men went for a walk in the Scottish countryside, in a field just outside Kirkcaldy in southern Fife. Only one of them came back alive. Timewatch tells the story of two men who fought to the death with pistols, one a respected merchant, David Landale, a linen merchant and pillar of the community. The other was George Morgan, a soldier turned banker with a fiery temper, steeped in military tradition. The soldier also happened to be the merchant’s bank manager. It would end with the death of one man and mark the demise of a 600 year old ritual.
The region now known as Iraq has always beenin many ways, world history’s ground zero. From this rich territory sprang the earliest cities and empires, earliest armies, and earliest tyrants. The Kings From Babylon To Baghdad tells the story of Iraq through the history of its rulers, from Sargon the Great to Saddam Hussein. This feature length documentary explores the connections and relevance between ancient and modern Iraq and between Iraq and the rest of the planet.
A tsunami in the Bristol Channel could have caused the deaths of up to 2,000 people in one of Britain’s greatest natural disasters, experts have said. For centuries, it has been thought that the great flood of January 1607 was caused by high tides and severe storms. Two experts have argued a tsunami could have caused the devastation. Eyewitness accounts of the disaster, published in six different pamphlets of the time, told of huge and mighty hills of water advancing at a speed “faster than a greyhound can run” and only receding 10 days later. Dr Roger Mussonhead of seismic hazards at the British Geological Survey, said there were other examples of earthquakes in the area caused by an ancient fault off south west Ireland. One magnitude 4.5 earthquake was recorded there on 8 February 1980. “The idea of putting a large historical earthquake in this spot is not so fanciful he said. “We know from seismological evidencethat we have actually had an earthquake here, so there is a fault and it is moving, it is active. Other UK tsunamis include a 70 feet high wave that hit Scotland 7,000 years ago, following a massive landslip in Norway.
Searching for traces of a mysterious age. Could a sword with magical powers really have existed? Was there really a camelot? Who was King Arthur and the knights of the round table? Where was the legendary grail castle located? The first step in the journey for the holy grail brings us into the mysterious world of the celts. They came to europe from the east. With them they brought their culture rituals and tradition of burying a prince with his belongings as a gift to the gods. The celts believed in resurrection of the dead. A relief on a bronze vessel from the 1st century B.C. shows a prince placing dead warriors into huge drinking vessels to bring them back to life. This documentary argues the celtic magic vessel as the origin of the medieval holy grail story.
Based on the best selling book by Karen ArmstrongA History of God descents into the ancient roots of Abrahamic religions and analyses today’s three major monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This searching, profound comparative history of the three major monotheistic faiths fearlessly illuminates the sociopolitical ground in which religious ideas take root, blossom and mutate. Armstrong also acknowledges that the idea of a personal God can be dangerous, encouraging us to judge, condemn and marginalize others.
LuciferBeelzebub, The Beast, Satan. He has been called many names and taken many strange different forms over the ages. So where does the concept of the traditional evil come from? The History of the Devil goes back to the ancient Middle East, even before the Old Testament to find the roots of Satan. In Zoroastrianism it was believed that the all knowing good God was Ahura Mazda, the one Uncreated, Creator, and Ahriman was his antithesis, the God of chaos, the dark and evil one.
The true story of a family that fought the Nazi madness with the only weapon they had. Love. In wartime Holland the Ten Boom family quietly sheltered Jews in their small house – until Nazis discovered the hiding place. With the Nazi invasion of Hollandthe ten Boom family joins the underground resistance to help save persecuted Jewish families. But when they are arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps themselves, they’re left with nothing to cling to but their faith.
Historian Hallie Rubenhold reveals the story behind the 18th century’s most infamous book Harris’s Listsa catalogue describing the talents and attributes of London’s prostitutes. Created by a pimp, a prostitute and a poet, the Lists became an instant bestseller – even though they contained lurid and often disturbing descriptions of the lives of the common courtesans. Rubenhold uses the details found within the Lists to produce a vivid depiction of the steamy underside of Georgian life.
Dr Saul David investigates the violent world of the medieval melee tournament. Forget the images of chivalric knightswell-dressed damsels and dropped handkerchiefs associated with the joust. The melee tournament was a brutal free-for-all with sharpened weapons, few rules and one undisputed champion, William Marshal. His story reveals a very different kind of tournament, one in which brute force ruled, handkerchiefs stayed in pockets and where money was more important than manners.
Documentary examining the Great Plague of 1665one of the darkest moments in Britain’s history, when over one-fifth of London’s population of 500,000 perished in a matter of months. Much is known of the disaster from the perspective of the largely well-to-do contemporary chroniclers, but this film tells the story from the perspective of the poor through the account of a local councillor who lived a stone’s throw from Fleet Street.
History reports that the mighty Inca were swiftly wiped out by a small band of Conquistadors. But new evidence is being unearthed that may help rewrite history. Remains of those who died in battle have been discovered, and for the first time physical evidence is suggesting that Spain’s conquest of the Incan Empire may have actually taken twenty years. Brought to life through CGI reconstruction and reenactments, the untold epic saga of decades of guerilla warfare and rebellion are finally revealed as this documentary uncovers the truth behind the Inca’s last stand.
North Koreans flee to Chinaforced to live in miserable conditions and are vulnerable to being sent back to hard labour camps, some commit suicide, others are easy targets. Reporter Oliver Steeds reports on the plight of thousands of North Korean women who have been forced into prostitution or sold as brides after fleeing persecution and starvation in one of the world’s most secretive and repressive regimes.
In 1946 almost half a million German prisoners of war were still being held in Britain. Interviewsarchive footage and photographs shed light on the experiences of the people of Oswaldtwistle, who were banned from fraternising with the enemy until 1946, a Lancashire town that offered the hand of friendship to the prisoners of war located near the town. The documentary is based largely on the book Enemies Become Friends by Pamela Howe Taylor.
Trace the rise and fall of one of the most famous Mafia familiesand get up close with crime legends Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano and John Gotti. For much of the century, they were the most powerful force in American organized crime. But internal strife and the tireless work of law enforcement have brought this once dominant organization to its knees. The Gambino crime family ruled New York’s streets for years. Today, there are only 200 members left of a force that used to number a thousand. This documentary journeys into the dark side of American history for this eye opening look at the Gambinos.
On July 14,1789, only a few years after France helped colonists in America win their freedom from Great Britain, a band of Parisian rebels staged an attack on the Bastille, looting needed supplies of food and materiel after the increasingly callous French authorities ignored their pleas. A decade of idealism, war, murder, and carnage followed, bringing about the end of feudalism and the rise of equality and a new world order. With dramatic reenactments, illustrations, and paintings from the era, plus revealing accounts from journals and expert commentary from historians, The French Revolution vividly unfurls in a maelstrom of violence, discontent, and fundamental change. Narrated by Edward Herrmann.
The First Emperor The Man Who Made China follows the rise and fall of Chin Shi Huang China’s legendary first emperor. The Discovery Channel was allowed unprecedented access to Emperor Chin’s underground burial complex that spans over seven square miles. The team employs cutting edge technology such as ground penetrating radar combined with CGI to illustrate the design and layout of the largest unopened tomb in the world.
With the conquest of Constatinople in 1204 during the 4th crusade the fall of the Byzantine Empire began. After 1430 the empire included only the city of Constantiople with its precincts and the Despotate of Moreas. John Palaiologos efforts to get help from the West through the union of churches caused great contrapositions in Constantinople among the people who were pro and against the union.
Tony Robinson visits the United Statesthe Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa to uncover the realities behind the terrifying vision of the end of the world in the Book of Revelation. It’s author wrote it sheltered in a cave on the Greek island of Patmos, probably a refugee from Roman occupied Palestine. He is also likely to have consumed the local hallucinogenic magic mushrooms. So rather than taking these bizarre visions literally, it might make more sense to try to understand them in their historical context. There are some 40 apocalyptic books from this era but this was the only one that made it into the Bible. As is usual with Tony Robinson’s programs Doomsday Code focuses on Tony’s opinions of the people he is observing, in this case Christians and Jews who support the state of Israel’s continued existance. Be prepared for an info-tainment program not a balanced documentary and you won’t be offended.
The Crucified Soldier refers to the widespread story of an Allied soldier serving in the Canadian Army who may have been crucified with bayonets on a barn door or a tree while fighting on the Western Front during World War I. But there was no conclusive proof a crucifixion actually occurred. Nevertheless the story made headline news around the world and the Allies repeatedly used the supposed incident in their war propagandalike other propoganda such as the Rape of Belgium and the Angels of Mons and the German corpse factory. A three foot bronze sculpture by British artist Francis Derwent Wood of a crucified soldier titled Canada’s Golgotha was included in an 1919 exhibition of wartime art in London but the sculpture was withdrawn from the exhibit after protest. The German government protested the falseness of this atrocity story and after the end of the war they formally requested the Canadian government provide proof. With no knowledge of the identity of the soldier and having only a few eyewitness accounts the crucifixion story was left unproven by a British inquiry after the War, but new sources require a re-examination.
A snake is a perfect hunting machine armed and dangerous it functions day and night. This snake can lock onto it’s target in total darkness with natures equivalent of night goggles it tracks its victim using infa-red. It has heat sensors known as pit organs just above it’s moutha live animal is warm and the snakes senses are very accurate. The snake deploys a weapon that is quick and deadly with a minimum of contact all it has to do is wait. The weapon is a lethal chemical, venom. In natures wars of survival chemical weapons are deployed on every front. Chemical warfare is everywhere. Attack and defense, measure and counter measure. This is the story of an evolutionary arms race, of the tactics and strategies deployed in the natural world.
A frank and moving film about Jonny Kennedyan extraordinary man with a terrible condition, Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), which means his skin literally falls off at the slightest touch, leaving his body covered in agonising sores and leading to a final fight against skin cancer. But, despite all the challenges Jonny faced in his life, he was determined to make the best of it. He had a very cheeky sense of humor and was not afraid to tell you what he was feeling straight out. When he found out that he had developed skin cancer he was approached about allowing the last months of his life to be filmed for a documentary. Channel 4, helped make the end of his life a grand adventure. Jonny decided to spice things up and he made a bucket list. He went hang gliding, flew on the Concorde, sailed on the QEII, got his own apartment and decided to organize an unforgettable funeral, which he hoped would bring a smile to people’s faces.
One of the defining documentaries of the 20th century The Atomic Cafe offers a darkly humorous glimpse into mid-century America, an era rife with paranoia, anxiety, and misapprehension. Whimsical and yet razor-sharp, this timeless classic illuminates the often comic paradoxes of life in the Atomic Age, while also exhibiting a genuine nostalgia for an earlier and more innocent nation.Immensely entertaining and devilishly witty, The Atomic Cafe serves up a revealing slice of American history the legendary decade when we learned to live in a nuclear world.
Three thousand years agoa boy became king. Tutankhamun, the most famous of all the Egyptian pharaohs, died before his 20th birthday. The cause of death a mystery. Even though the crime occurred over 3,000 years ago, evidence still remains. Examine the clues and see if you can name the prime suspect.You be the detective and evaluate the clues. Find out about the victim and the prime suspects.
In the cloud forests of Peru the stone walls of a mysterious mountain top fortress rise out of the jungle. These 60 foot walls are filled with the bones of the Chachapoyathe Cloud Warriors, who lived high in the Andes from A.D. 800 to the mid 1500s. Only after an intense struggle did the powerful Incan empire gain control of the fiercely independent Chachapoya tribes. But did the Inca ever conquer the Chachapoya stronghold of Kuelap? Archaeologists at Kuelap have uncovered hundreds of elaborate burial sites throughout the settlement that reveal tantalising clues about the identity of the Chachapoya people and how and why they built such a massive fortress.
The Amish A People Of Preservation. No one can speak for the old order Amish but themselves and they have seldom chosen to do so. They have no interest in self-promotion. There life is their testimony. This documentary describes the daily life of Amish and interviews people who have been raised Amish but are now living a more worldly life. Interesting and well done documentary including some surprises such as the description of Amish communities living in Florida.
BBC One comes live from the abyss. Over a unique day of broadcastslive pictures are beamed up from the very depths of the ocean as tiny submersibles search for the weird creatures first encountered in the documentary series The Blue Planet hosted by David Attenborough. Off the Californian coast, Peter Snow and underwater cameraman Mike deGruy comment on the action as a remote operated vehicle dives live to 2,000 meters beneath them. Keen divers Kate Humble and Alastair Fothergill (Blue Planet) share their extraordinary experiences of diving in tiny submersibles.
The extraordinary life of Columbian Edward Hernandez who at the age of 24 was just 27 inches tall. Because of his tiny size Edward was used to unwanted attention from strangers but in 2010 his life changed dramatically when he was officially declared the shortest man in the world. The media frenzy was immediate, he became a hit on the Latin American chat show circuit. How would Edward cope with overnight fame and how long could he keep hold of his title?
Allan Little looks back at the tumultuous Thatcher years and assesses the effect they had on Scotland. The programme also examines the personalhuman relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Scotland. Why did she become the subject of so much bile? And what does that say about the Scots and their attitudes? With archive film and in-depth interviews with politicians, historians and those who lived through and reported on the Thatcher years.
The story of the number one is the story of Western civilization. Terry Jones goes on a humor filled journey to recount the amazing tale behind the world’s simplest number. Using computer graphics One is brought to lifein all his various guises, in Story of 1. One’s story reveals how celebrated civilizations in history were achieved, where our modern numbers came from and how the invention of zero changed the world forever, and saved us from having to use Roman numerals today.
The watchwords of the French Revolution were libertyequality and fraternity. Maximilien Robespierre believed in them passionately. He was an idealist and a lover of humanity. But during the 365 days that Robespierre sat on the Committee of Public Safety, the French Republic descended into a bloodbath. The Terror only came to end when Robespierre himself was devoured by the repressive machinery he had created. This docudrama tells the story of the Terror and looks at how Robespierre’s revolutionary idealism quickly became an excuse for tyranny and why a lover of liberty was so keen to use the guillotine. Simon Schama and Slavoj Zizek are among the contributors.