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. Episode 1 – At the dawn of the first millennia, there was no Scotland or England. In the first episode Oliver reveals the mystery of how the Gaelic Scottish Kingdom Alba was born, and why its role in one of the greatest battles ever fought on British soil defined the shape of Britain in the modern era.
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.
Luxury isn’t always a question of the expensive and beautiful for the rich and powerful, it’s always been much more and more important than that. The story of luxury is about an idea that touches on democracy and patriotism on social harmony and epic courage and even on the divine. Because it is so important there has always been more than one definition of what luxury actually is. One thing all can agree on is that luxury is a rare thing, it divides society into the haves and have nots. Host Cambridge University academic Dr Michael Scott asks the question “Do we love luxury or hate it or both?” He presents the view that the best way to understand today’s anxious response toward luxury is to think about how it operated in the past and to understand how that past continues to impact society today. Episode Luxury in the Middle Ages – follows the clash between luxury and Christianity which convulsed medieval Europe. Luxury was a roadblock on the road to heaven, so the church was quick to condemn the jewellery and gorgeous weapons of the early medieval world. Yet the church also had its own form of luxury, in the form of manuscripts designed to do the work of God through astonishment and display. And to some extent it worked, as by 1200 medieval boys’ toys like warhorses and tournaments were suffused with Christian ideas of chivalry and gentility. But trade growth brought new luxuries to Europe, condemned in turn by the church, like exotic spices from the East, spicy food led to spicy conduct and to the sin of lechery, said the preachers. But soon the Black Death paradoxically liberated luxury from the church by initiating a new world of relative luxury and consumerism, the luxury world we inhabit today.
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 2 Figures In The Chalk – Aubrey travels to the Chalk Hills of England to unravel the origins of the enigmatic chalk figures such as the Long Man of Wilmington and the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset. The age of these chalk figures has never been fully established and Aubrey, alongside a team of archaeologists from Reading University, come up with a remarkable new discovery.
It is 114 B.C. and the Republic of Rome is a small empire clinging to the rim of the Mediterranean. Suddenly, terror grips the Romans as the first barbarian attack smashes through the imperial boarder, paving the way for what would become one of the most tumultuous eras in the history of mankind. Filled with dramatic re-enactments and action packed battle scenes, Rome Rise and Fall of an Empire chronicles the dramatic story of one of history’s greatest empires from its first major battle to its remarkable military feats and through its eventual fall. This is the History Channel series, not BBC. The Invasion of Britain – It is 47 AD. The new emperor Claudius has lost the respect of those he seeks to rule. He can only hang onto his throne by waging a spectacular conquest. He chooses Britannia, a legendary land which fascinates and inspires fear in the Romans. Proud and warlike, the Britons use the island’s treacherous terrain and dark forests to lure the legions to ruin. Led by magic wielding Druid priests and a charismatic warrior named Caratacus, the Britons resist in the face of the greatest military machine the world has ever known.
A major two part documentary series offers a unique and personal insight into the life and work of The Duke of Edinburgh. He has been a constant figure in the lives of the British people, a fixed point in a changing landscape. But he still remains something of an enigma. Bombastic and autocratic say his critics. Colourful and stimulating say his admirers. Famous for his so called gaffes, while some of his initiatives have shown him to be a man ahead of his time. Granted unparalleled access over recent months, this documentary has followed the Duke, producing a fascinating chronicle of the role HRH has carved out for himself.
From Wales to Timbuktu is a two part series about the meeting of two cultures through the eyes and words of teenagers from mid Wales. In February 2009, four specially selected students travelled to Mali in Africa, on a 10 day literary adventure. Their aim was to immerse themselves in the culture of Timbuktu, Hay-on-Wye’s twin town. They recorded their experiences, observations and revelations by keeping diaries and writing notes. Key to their experience was the guidance of a writing mentor Tom Bullough a published author from Powys. Hay-on-Wye and Timbuktu are twinned not just as municipalities but also through their fundamental association with literature and the world of books. Timbuktu is the oldest home of the written word in Africa.
For the better part of a millennium, Windsor Castle has been at the heart of British history the awesome fortress, family home, treasure trove and burial ground for the Royal dynasty who went on to take its name. But there is another side to the Castle that tourists never see. It is the real Windsor, a beloved home not only to the Royal family but to more than 400 people who live and work there year round. Windsor Castle A Royal Year provides a fascinating, insider’s look at this grand landmark, where crown and community live and work side by side. Episode 1 The Banquet – After six months of planning and preparation, France’s President and Madame Chirac arrive to mark the centenary of Entente Cordiale. In addition to an official state dinner, guests will be treated to an abridged version of Les Miserables, to be performed in the Waterloo Chamber. But, as protesters gather outside the Castle and producer Sir Cameron Macintosh copes with last minute delays, unexpected glitches could upset all of the hard work and planning.
Documentary telling the story behind the Pontmorlais First World War memorial in Merthyr Tydfil. In recent years, the memorial has been suffering from neglect and vandalism. The programme looks at how a new generation of children from Cyfarthfa Junior school in Merthyr are introduced to the idea of why war memorials were erected, and their significance in the community. The children took part in a Heritage Lottery project where they helped produce an animation film about the Pontmorlais memorial alongside professional film makers. The film follows the children’s exploration of war, through a series of workshops and visits which are locally and nationally based, from Cyfarthfa Castle Museum to the Cenotaph and the Imperial War Museum in London. The four minute animation film, which the children helped produce, is shown in the documentary.
Documentary about the painters Augustus John and his young protege James Dickson Innes who, in 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.
Certain landmarks have captured the imagination and awe of modern architects and engineers around the world as they work to solve the mystery of how their ancient forebears were able to construct such beautiful, timeless and revolutionary structures with none of the machines and materials available to modern engineers. Episode St Pauls Cathedral – In 1666, in London, thousands of people fleeing the fire, devouring the great cathedral. Fire destroys this monumental architecture. But the new miracle of architecture rises from the ashes and will rise above one of the richest cities in the world.
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 2 – Medieval historian Marc Morris travels to Kent to tell the story of King John’s besieging of Rochester Castle in 1215, revealing how the stronghold’s fate was eventually decided with the help of 40 pigs.
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 manmade wonders. The hit series goes deep to explore the leading edge of human inspiration and ambition. Episode Suez Canal – Since the ancient pharaohs’ time, the Isthmus of Suez has been the gateway to trade between East and West. It’s thought that the pharaohs could connect the Red Sea with the Mediterranean using a system of small canals, but the desert sands buried them. Not until mid-19th century did mankind readdress the problem.
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 fascinating six program series takes a searching look at the public and private lives of the British Royal Family. The six programs offer a revealing insight into the world’s most famous family, looking at how the monarchy works, how it has evolved over the centuries and the challenges it faces in the present and in the future. Long To Reign Over US ? – Prince William is second in line to the throne and might be expected to succeed his father as king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland sometime in the 2030’s but is his throne secure? A whole range of factors have made the monarchy seem less impregnable then when the queen came to the throne. The enormous changes in Britain since then, have meant that questions have increasingly arisen about the monarchies position in a class-less society, about it’s lifestyle, about its finances. All these problems have come to a head with the public unraveling of the royal family. Throughout the century the image of the british monarchy has been centered on it’s appeal as an idealized family. Noone could fail to have noticed that in the queen’s 40th anniversary year all this has shaterred. The result is that there is a growing belief that the royal family’s problems have gone so far that the long term survival of the monarchy in Britain cannot be guaranteed. So is abolition of the monarchy a real possibility?
Wayward women tells the tale of some of history’s most fascinating females and combines strong story telling from celebrities and academics with the unique atmosphere and ambience of a burlesque venue. This series focuses on women from Yorkshire and the North East of England. It is a great short introduction to women you may not have heard of before. It is not an in depth program, but it is intended to spark your interest so that you will explore more on your own. Historians and psychologists add fact to the rumours. Each story is accompanied by artistic re-enactments, archive stills and burlesque artists.Commentors include Germaine Greer, Carol McGiffin, Scott Henshall, Michelle Heaton, Jayne Middlemiss and Simon Donald. Episode 6 Killers & Corruptors features Mary Ann Cotton (Durham’s Passionate Poisoner), Mary Wilson (Widow of Windy Nook), Louie Calvert (Leed’s Footwear Fetishist), Isabella Crozier (Mad at Heart), and Emily Swann (Husband Killer).
Ninety years ago, Britain’s teenage boys volunteered en masse to fight for their King and country. Such was their will to fight that a number of enthusiastic boys joined up below the legal age to enlist. Now, new research reveals that these boy soldiers were not just a passionate handful but a significant proportion of Britain’s army. Additionally, the government has been found to have deliberately turned a blind eye to their enlistment. In their naivety, many of the boys envisaged a few months away fighting, followed by victory and a hero’s welcome back home. this documentary charts the struggle of one man, Liberal MP Arthur Markham, to persuade the war office to tackle this issue, and to secure the return of tens of thousands of boys from the savage battlefields of Europe.
For almost 1000 years Norman cathedrals and castles have dominated the British landscape, but this norman legacy has eclipsed another culture. The lost art of the people the Normans conquered, the art of the Anglo-Saxons. The discovery of these golden hordes would radically alter our interpretation of the Anglo-Saxons. They used materials and techniques that brought together the ideas and beliefs of Scandinavia, main land Europe and the middle east. The Anglo-Saxons developed a complex artistic language that combined both their pagan past and their Christian future. They created a world of codes and secret messages that revealed the inner workings of the Anglo-Saxon mind, much of which has remained hidden until now. This documentary explores the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England and is presented by Dr. Nina Ramirez of Oxford University.
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 6 Burning convictions – Covering 1500-1558. Here Simon Schama charts the upheaval caused as a country renowned for its piety, whose king styled himself Defender of the Faith, turns into one of the most aggressive proponents of the new Protestant faith.
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 4 The Spanish Armada – Britain’s defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was a victory against one of the great seagoing nations. The dramatic events helped seal the British reputation as a seafaring people.
Decisive Battles of the Ancient World presents the 13 defining points of ancient warfare moments that altered the course of history and shaped the modern world. It is a comprehensive account of the famed leaders that commanded victory and the brilliant military tactics that swayed destiny. The show used the game engine from Rome: Total War to present 3-D versions of the battles. Boudicca Warrior Queen 60 A.D. Boudicca’s Revolt – In the farthest flung province of the Roman Empire Britain a warrior queen named Boudicca rose in revolt.
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 3 Edward the First, 1272 – 1307 – Ruthlessly overran Wales when Llewelyn refused to pay him tribute. He then turned his attention to the Scots in an equally brutal effort to suppress opposition and create a truly “united kingdom”. Nicknamed “Longshanks” on account of his imposing height, Edward had a reputation for piety, but the inscription on his tomb, “The Hammer of the Scots”, is a reminder of this warrior king’s single minded aim to unite the British Isles under his rule.
This series follows local man Francis Campbell in his role as the UK’s ambassador to the Vatican. Delving beneath the ceremonial duties, we get an unique glimpse into the real life of a diplomat operating within the hidden world of the Vatican. Episode 3 – Francis is back in Belfast to pick up an honorary degree at Queen’s, and work in the embassy steps up a gear when official confirmation arrives of the Pope’s plan to visit the UK in 2010.