Each half hour episode looks at a major fighting people or force and charts the reasons for their rise to dominance and subsequent fall. The show explores the motivations of ancient soldiers, as well as how they lived, fought, trained, died, and changed the world. It also uses battle re-enactments and computer graphics to demonstrate military strategy. This series from the Discovery Channel is especially good for the lesser known groups of warriors. Episode 2 The Celts – Only Roman discipline overcomes well armed Celts. They swept down from the mountains like a torrent and roared over the land. They seemed half-man half-beast. As wild as the hills they emerged from. In battle none were more reckless, none more fearless. So terrible did they appear that their foes might turn and run before a blow was struck. They fought for nothing less than victory and mocked death itself.
Presented by Marc Morris an exciting, eye opening tour around Britain exploring the age of the medieval castle. Covering a period of six hundred years of British history, Marc charts the evolution of the medieval castle, from the primitive earth and timber “motte and bailey” castles to the formidable stone structures which still dominate the land today. Episode 3 – Historian Marc Morris explores how King Edward I’s relationship with a master builder led to the creation of some of the most famous castles in Britain, including Caernarfon, Caerphilly and Harlech, fortresses used by the king as a formidable weapon to consolidate his conquests of Wales and its native dynasties.
Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earth, exploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. Arthur the Once and Future King In this episode of the series, Wood explores the greatest British myth the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Traveling round the Celtic world from Cornwall to Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland, Wood uncovers the extraordinary story of how a shadowy Welsh freedom fighter
Modern Marvels celebrates the ingenuity, invention and imagination found in the world around us. This series tells fascinating stories of the doers, the dreamers and sometime schemers that create everyday items, technological breakthroughs and man made wonders. Episode Tower Bridge – Bruce Nash and Christoph Ritter take the helm in this documentary glimpse at London’s Tower Bridge, the iconic connected towers that have dominated the Thames since 1887. Archival footage of the building process and the bridge’s evolution over the years lends fascinating historical detail to a fixture of the London skyline.
This five part series reveals how the Second World War provided a backdrop to a time of intense social change in Britain. As the country fought a long and bloody war, a sexual revolution was in its throes. Through heart rending revelations and intimate personal testimonies, Sex, Love And War reveals the full story of the sexual adventures of the nation during World War II. The danger of death inspired a “live for today” attitude. As a result taboos came crashing down.
This series of programs consists of 16 episodes which profile 16 evil men and women throughout history who have used their power to torture, kill, maim and eradicate millions of people. Attila The Hun – Attila was Khan of the Huns. He is remembered as the epitome of cruelty and rapacity. He passed unhindered through Austria and Germany, across the Rhine into Gaul, plundering and devastating all in his path with a ferocity unparalleled in the records of barbarian invasions and compelling those he overcame to augment his mighty army.
Presenter Mike Loades, an expert who trains people how to use medieval weapons, takes the viewer on a tour of medieval arms and armour, and demonstrates their central role in key events in British history. Learn about much more than the weapons themselves as the series draws in themes of technology, religion, geography and even music. Episode 1 The sword – A deadly weapon that was used throughout the Middle Ages and was standard army issue until the late 19th century. In the 1471 Battle of Barnet (during the War of the Roses), fighting eventually came down to the sword despite the availability of gunpowder by that time. Mike teaches 10 students how to wield a sword using the same techniques that would have been employed in medieval sword schools. Mike visits the site of the Battle of Barnet to retrace the battle step-by-step and to explore the crucial role of the sword in deciding the outcome.
This documentary argued that all British monarchs since Henry VII of England did not have a valid claim to the English throne. The programme based its thesis on the centuries old claim that Edward IV was illegitimate, born to Cecily Neville by an English archer while her husband, Richard, Duke of York was elsewhere in France fighting. The legitimacy of Edward IV was the subject of speculation at the time, and a document in Rouen Cathedral is presented by Dr. Michael Jones as indicating that Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville were a hundred miles apart during the five week period when Edward’s conception must have occurred. This theorised illegitimacy of Edward would bar a rightful claim for himself and his descendants.
A documentary about the real life inspirations for Sherlock Holmes. A leading professor of medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell is a pioneer in a new field, forensic science. Joseph Bell is the real life model for the greatest fictional detective in history. He inspired his student, Arthur Conan Doyle to create a legend. Includes interviews with literary historians and Holmes experts and asks the question what is it about this imaginary victorian detective seem so real.
The Mary Rose, built five centuries ago and named after the favourite sister of Henry VIII, was a forerunner of today’s battleships. A team of experts from the fields of shipbuilding, science, history and archaeology gather to study the evidence and try to pin down the reason for the disaster. Using a scaled down model of the Mary Rose, forensic scientists reconstruct the ship’s last voyage, and a tragic picture emerges of her final moments.In a cellar under a naval dockyard are some of the remains of an English warship that mysteriously sank in 1545 taking over 400 with her the reason the ship sank has never been fully explained over the centuries the french the crew and even the shipwrights have all been blamed for the catastrophe only now are archeologist and scientist beginning to come up with new evidence to explain one of the great disasters of sea warfare The sinking of the Mary Rose.
From the dawn of civilization to the 20th century, A History of Britain re-animates familiar tales and illuminates overlooked aspects of England’s past. Hosted by Simon Schama, this series discards timelines and tiresome lineages for a lively look at the personalities and cultures that infuse British history. Epic themes and towering figures that transformed an island “at the edge of the world” into the greatest empire on earth. Episode 7 The Body of the Queen – The feud between Queen Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, whose conspiring ultimately led to her execution.
Battlefield Britain is about famous battles in the history of Great Britain. From Boudicca’s destructive rebellion against the Romans to the incredible feats of The Few who saw off the Luftwaffe, these battles all had wide reaching consequences and implications for the future of the British isles. Presented by father and son team Peter and Dan Snow. Peter explains the battleplans, Dan the perspective of the common soldier, sailors and airmen. The episodes also featured interviews with soldiers from both sides, re-enactments of the battles and computer generated scenes with bird eye views and blocks to show troop movement. Episode 5 Routing The Royals The Battle of Naseby – The Battle of Naseby in 1645 saw Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army win the decisive battle of the English Civil War, effectively bringing an end to the absolute power of the monarchy.
The Disaster Specials look at how and why major disasters happen, and what can be learned from them. They are specifically intended to focus and inform on issues relating to health and safety issues, crisis management and post-disaster supervision. Episode 1 King’s Cross – Over thirty people died in the Kings Cross underground fire, which broke out as commuters headed home on November 18, 1987. At around 19.30 a passenger on an escalator lit a cigarette and dropped the match. The results of this seemingly tiny action were disastrous. The miniscule fire fed on grease on the moving stairway and in 10 minutes had engulfed the wooden treads on the steps. Fifteen minutes later the flames had reached the Kings Cross ticket hall, then erupted in a fireball, filling the crowded station with poisonous black smoke. Many of those who died were killed instantly. Almost 15 years on this programme examines one of the UK’s worst ever disasters.
Series detailing the lives of 12 significant English rulers between 1066 and the present day. Dr. Nigel Spivey takes the viewer through the ages, describing the political intrigue, lust, battles and bloodshed that make up the histories of monarchs. In a thousand years, the British monarchy has evolved from divinely appointed warrior kings to benign political figureheads. He pieces together the incidents, battles and motivations that shaped British lives. Episode 4 Henry the Fifth, 1413 – 1422 – Immortalised by Shakespeare as the hero of Agincourt, who rallied his depleted troops against superior forces, pressing English claims to French territories. After pulling off a brilliant victory against overwhelming odds, Henry attempted to end the impasse of the Hundred Years War by signing the Treaty of Troyes and marrying French princess Catherine, but died of dysentery seven weeks before he was due to accept the Gallic throne.
This series, first aired in 2011, marks a decade of fighting in Afghanistan with a unique insight into the war told through films shot by the soldiers themselves. The BBC was given unprecedented access by the Ministry of Defence to thousands of hours of footage shot on helmet cameras and personal video cameras by soldiers. With the raw honesty of first person stories of life on the front line, the series offers a gripping and poignant insight into every side of the young soldiers’ experience, the average age is 21, from fear to boredom, grief to bravery, the camaraderie of the platoon and the return home. Episode 2 The Invisible Enemy – Follows the plight of the first troops sent to Helmand Province in 2006 and shows how, three years later, Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs had changed the war. A small platoon entered the town of Sangin in 2006 equipped to stay for a few days but ended up staying months, under heavy bombardment. As they struggle to survive, a supply drop off lands behind enemy lines by mistake. Later, in 2009, Captain Alex Rawlins films his men from 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards under threat from the increasing number of IEDs in Helmand Province. They lost of one their mates, 23 year old Guardsman Jamie Janes, who stood on a landmine during a patrol. The film shows how Jamie Janes’s death became a turning point in the British public’s awareness of the human cost of IEDs and how a misspelled letter turned into a political storm for the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
This series examines the eleven years which Thatcher spent as Prime Minister of the UK. Using interviews with former Cabinet Ministers and Thatcher herself, this series covers important events in Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership, from 1979 to 1990. Episode 2 Best of Enemies – In her second term in office after victory in 1983, Mrs Thatcher’s position seemed impregnable. Her conduct of the Falkland’s war was popular, she had trounced Arthur Scargill and the striking miners, and had survived the bombing by the IRA of the Grand Hotel in Brighton. But all was not well: Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong and ex Chancellor Nigel Lawson are amongst those who recall the emnity between the Prime Minister and her Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine. Thatcher thought of him as “over poweringly ambitious and self centred”, and his handling of the Westland affair in 1986 only served to increase ill feeling between the two, which reached its height with his challenge to her leadership in 1990.
A three part series from the Discovery civilization channel, all about the Tower of London. This is the story of the tower of London, past and present. With unique access to the tower, this series will unlock its private, as well as public life. Revealing the hidden history of well known stories, and uncovering forgotten tower secrets. More than anywhere else in Britain these building have stood at the heart of history for over 900 years. The truth of what happened here is still being discovered. From executions with block and axe, to spies shot in the first world war, it has prisoners as familiar is queen Elizabeth the first, and as recent as World War Two u-boat men. Episode 1 Fortress With unique access behind the walls and locked doors of the Tower of London, discover how it stayed at the cutting edge of military technology.
The series explores scientific inventions and discoveries made during the Stuart period from 1603 to 1714 and their implications even today. Episodes are grouped based on themes architecture and lifestyle, engineering and sciences, economics and politics, and discoveries with influence in science fiction. Episode 3 The Organysed Isle – Britain becomes more organised under the Stuart dynasty. Moll Cutpurse was the world’s first highway(wo)man, preying on new lines of communication opened by travel by coach. This period sees the inception of public transport, street lighting, the fire brigade, the creation of Great Britain, the first banknotes, government bonds, and the Bank of England.
Executioner Pierrepoint reveals for the first time ever on TV the exact number of people Albert executed and talks of a previously unknown visit to the grave of Ruth Ellis, who he hanged in 1955 for the murder of her boyfriend. Just what was going through his mind after so many years in this macabre profession?
The Britisches Freikorps unit of the Waffen SS served alongside the Nazis on the Eastern Front. Its members wore the death’s head insignia and took German rank. They helped defend Berlin even as Hitler retreated to his bunker. But each and every member was recruited from British, Canadian, Australian and South African soldiers who volunteered to betray their country. Recognising the potential propaganda value of the unit, the Nazis ordered 800 SS uniforms with Union Jack arm badges. Most Allied prisoners of war ignored or resisted recruitment tactics ranging from leaflet bombardment to bribery and torture. But some 200 Allied prisoners answered the Nazi call. Some were motivated by greed, or by sympathies with the fascist cause. Others were simply described by intelligence files of the time as of “weak character”, and found the opportunities offered by the Germans to drink and womanise too tempting. For the first time on British Television, the British SS soldiers speak of their treachery, and their part in a failed German propaganda coup.
Ten thought – provoking episodes bring a fresh perspective to Scotland’s past and challenges many of the perceived notions of Scottish history. Using the very latest in historical research A History of Scotland is a sweeping and insightful chronicle of an often turbulent, but continuingly fascinating nation.
The story follows the life of gay school teacher Bob who is fed up with the shallowness of dating on the gay club scene in Manchester. A romantic at heart Bob yearns to meet the right person and settle down. After yet another unsuccessful gay date he meets Rose while they are both waiting for a taxi cab. Rose is disenchanted with her down-to-earth boyfriend and is smitten with Bob but she does not initially realise he is gay. Subsequent episodes chart their on-off love affair.
On September 3rd 1939, 25 year old English aristocrat Unity Mitford walked into a Munich park and shot herself in the head. Distraught at the prospect of England declaring war on her beloved Fuhrer, Britain’s most notorious Nazi sympathiser seemed determined to make the ultimate act of fanatical devotion. Featuring original testimony and with the release of secret documents from the Home Office and MI5, this programme examines how this archetypal English aristocrat fell under Hitler’s spell and became one of his closest confidantes.
Professor Aubrey Manning embarks on a series of journeys in which he tries to solve mysteries hidden in the landscape of the British Isles. Unpicking clues in the geology, natural history, and archaeology, Aubrey reveals how the land has come to look the way it does. Episode 4 Secrets of the Flood – Aubrey is in the Solent, off the south coast of England. It’s known that people once lived in a landscape that is now covered by the sea but how did this area become flooded? In this episode Aubrey investigates a mystery that has puzzled experts for centuries.
The Mystery of the Black Death begins in September of 1665, when a tailor in the secluded English village of Eyam opened a flea infested shipment of fabric from London. In a matter of days, the tailor and much of the village were suffering the telltale signs of bubonic plague, the disease that, in the first five years since its arrival, had wiped out a third of the European population. To prevent the outbreak from spreading throughout the region, the whole town was quarantined, no one was allowed in or out. Outsiders assumed that the bacteria would simply wipe out the entire village. But they were wrong. Three hundred and fifty years later, Dr. Stephen O’Brien, a geneticist from the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., is delving into the reasons why some individuals managed to survive the excruciating Black Death while others were dying all around them. Following O’Brien as he takes DNA samples and investigates historical records and family archives, the film sheds light on the resistance to the plague, and reveals a stunning legacy that the plague survivors passed on to their descendents, a similar resistance to the modern day scourge of AIDS.