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.
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 1 Woman at War – Looks at how she rejected the postwar consensus that had governed the country for more than 30 years, and came into conflict with trade unions, the old establishment and even members of her own cabinet. Yet even as the country moved into a crippling recession, the Prime Minister refused to make a U-turn in policy.
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 2 The Applyance of Science – Before Stuart times science was dominated by Greek philosopher Aristotle, dead for 2000 years his ideas were becoming discredited and the Stuarts wanted a new approach to understanding nature. This episode charts how the birth of the Royal Society marked a shift from ancient Greek and medieval thought to a more modern scientific approach. This revolutionary time heralded the beginnings of the steam age, hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, as well as the giant revolution accomplished by that greatest of all Stuarts, Sir Isaac Newton.
Elizabeth R shows royal family gatherings, her state visit to the US, a pony ride with her grandchildren at Balmoral Castle and the preparations for a banquet at Windsor Castle among the others. It also displays meetings of the Queen with a number of significant political figures, including Francesco Cossiga, Edward Heath, Ronald Reagan and Lech Walesa. The Queen is also depicted with her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on Derby Day at Epsom in the film. The film was produced by BBC to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession. The program was narrated by Ian Holm, with some narration provided by recordings from director, Edward Mirzoeff’s conversation with the Queen. It’s the closest thing to an interview the Queen as ever given.
A frank and moving film about Jonny Kennedy, an 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.
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.
Pamela Churchill Harriman was Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law and confidante, and with his knowledge conducted a series of affairs in wartime London, picking up the pillow talk of diplomats and generals. Churchill’s Girl includes interviews with key people in her life, including her son, brother, son-in-law and stepdaughter, Peter Duchin and Brooke Hayward Duchin and the granddaughter of he
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 3 Britain Before the Ice – Then it’s on to the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Here, in 1823, the skeleton of a young man, who had died 29,000 years ago, was found. In this episode, Aubrey attempts to unravel the mystery of the lost world in which this man lived.
Look outs on the English coast have been expecting the Spanish Armada for 3 years and now they’re here. The Spanish called it the Enterprise of England a massive sea born invasion. What happened next has been celebrated by the English ever since. It is one of the ways the English define themselves: it’s pluck in the face of adversity, it’s coolness under fire, it’s effortless superiority, the English David against the Spanish Goliath. That’s the legend but the real Armada story is a country defended by pirates, who through cunning caution and ingenuity managed not loose … just.
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 2 Four Seasons – Rituals and events mark the calendar year for the Castle and its staff. Two of the year’s largest events take place in June, as The Queen returns for The Order of the Garter ceremony, an annual celebration of Britain’s oldest and highest order of chivalry. Also in June, the biggest event in the racing calendar, the Royal Ascot, assembles high society on the Castle’s impressive grounds.
Historian Michael Wood returns to his first great love, the Anglo-Saxon world, to reveal the origins of our literary heritage. Focusing on Beowulf and drawing on other Anglo-Saxon classics, he traces the birth of English poetry back to the Dark Ages. traveling across the British Isles from East Anglia to Scotland and with the help of Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney, actor Julian Glover, local historians and enthusiasts, he brings the story and language of this iconic poem to life.
Britain’s National Health Service celebrates its sixtieth birthday on 5 July this year. It is universally regarded as a national treasure, the 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.