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 Colosseum – Greatest amphitheater of the ancient world embodies the genius of Roman engineering, but is much more-a powerful tool of control over the population and a reason for the proclamation of the Roman greatness in the world.
Series from Discovery Channel on earthquakes. Episode 2. Mexico City – The Aztecs believed the world would end by earthquake and fire. For a moment in 1985, it seemed they were right. Mexico City was struck by an earthquake both deadly and mystifying. How did people survive for nine days in the rubble? Learn how the largest urban center on the face of the earth was built in perhaps one of the worst places for earthquakes, and what happened in 1985 when one of the world’s strongest ever earthquakes rocked it seemingly to the ground.
Megastructures: Built from Disaster explores how accidents throughout the world have influenced the evolution of modern structural engineering. Stadiums Episode 4 – Sport stadiums are amongst the most iconic, eye catching structures of the modern world. Symbols of local and national pride, they play host to huge crowds on a weekly basis. No other structure holds so many people in such close proximity and in such an emotionally charged atmosphere-so when the structures fail, the effects can be catastrophic. Over the past century, more than 1,600 people have died at stadiums across the world. To prevent disasters happening in the stadiums of the future, engineers have had to learn what went wrong in the past.
Series in which intrepid presenter Kate Humble follows the ancient frankincense trade route of Arabia across the amazing modern world of the Middle East. Kate’s journey along the 2,000 mile trail that first connected the Arab world with the West takes her on a quest that’s steeped in history, searing with desert heat, and full of characters and adventure. For 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, frankincense was more valuable than gold. Its sweet smelling aromatic smoke was treasured by Pharaohs and Caesars, and their insatiable demand for frankincense created a trade route from the southern coast of Oman to the Holy Lands. Vast camel caravans carried thousands of tonnes of frankincense over tribal lands – known today as Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine.
This is where it all began, Adam Hart-Davis first foray, directly inspired by the Monty Python sequence from “The Life of Brian”, where the People’s Front of Judea discuss “What have the Romans done for us?”, into how the foundations of modern society were laid by the surprising cultural and technological achievements of the Roman empires. This is the first series of “What The … Did For Us” hosted by Adam Hart-Davis. Episode 3 Building Britain – Within 30 years of the invasion there were 60,000 Roman troops in Britain, they had come from some of the most advanced places in Europe, and to them this sort of settlement must have seemed primitive. This is the story of how they transformed the landscape and laid the foundations for the countryside and the cities Britain has today. Hart-Davis analyses the Romans’ ingenious farming methods and looks at the creation of early towns. He visits York and discovers the remains of the Roman city and a Roman sewer that is still working. Butser Ancient Farm, described as “an open air laboratory”, this reconstructed Iron Age farm and settlement is an archaeological research project, investigating the ancient methods of Celtic farmers. Housesteads Roman Fort, Britain’s most intact Roman fort, all the more impressive for its clifftop location, built by Hadrian in the second century. Fire brigades and primitive fire extinguishers, demonstrated by Hart-Davis, were developed under the auspices of the Emperor Nero.
The meals of King Henry VIII of England were among the most fantastic ever created. Henry consumed meals of dolphin, songbird and enjoyed intricate puddings molded from sugar. Based on astrology as much as taste Tudor food included elaborate jellies made from deer antler even alcoholic spirits flavored with pure gold. From their great palaces the Tudor monarchs were served extravagant meals that combined the outrageous with the every day, helping to shape the way we eat and taste to the present day. As we journey back in time to the 16th century we will discover the secrets of royal cuisine and reveal a meal fit for a king.
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 Chachapoya, the 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.
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 1 – Medieval historian Marc Morris travels the length of Britain to tell the story of the nation’s castles, consulting the Bayeux Tapestry and archaeological evidence to discover how they evolved over a 600 year period, and revealing that the traditional motte and bailey style constructions were actually of foreign invention, developed by William the Conqueror.
The senses are our guide to the world, keeping us out of danger and directing us to pleasure. But how sensitive and accurate are they? And Just how intense a sensation can we bear? We will also meet the sensory superstar of the animal kingdom, who can help to explain the biological roots of our own senses. The light hearted but revealing series explores, sense by sense, how they function and why we need them. Episode 2 Hearing and Balance – Sound can have a very powerful effect on how we feel about the world and Nigel Marven is on a quest to track down the sounds which have the most powerful emotional effects on us. Balance is our true sixth sense it enables us to sense how our bodies are moving around in the world and keep us upright. There are only two kinds of animal that spend their whole lives performing the tricky balancing act of walking on two legs humans and some flightless birds, like ostriches.
Mysteries of Asia, produced for The Learning Channel, explores historical fact and theory surrounding some of the oldest structures in Asia. New footage of the areas under examination is complemented by film clips and animated maps, narrated by Michael Bell. Episode Jewels in the Jungle – The ancient Khmer temples of Cambodia, much of whose history is undocumented. This program examines the unusual mix of Hindu and Buddhist religious figures among the temples and gates built by the Khmer, and examines the walled city of Angkor in some detail. Cambodia’s bloody recent history under Pol Pot is also discussed, and the program celebrates the survival of the ancient dances of Angkor, the only remaining cultural link to the distant past.
The idea that an event of cataclysmic proportions shrouded the Earth’s atmosphere, darkening the sky and plunging its inhabitants into a massive crisis, is familiar to anyone who’s read about the dinosaurs. But what if a similar event happened to humans? And what if recorded history around the world indicates a precise time when this disaster struck? This fascinating documentary tackles the premise that scribes in civilizations as far apart as Ireland and China all recorded a darkening of the sky and a drop in temperatures about the year A.D. 535. Episode 1 The Day The Sun Went Out – Looks at geological, meteorological, and other forces that may have significantly impacted the Earth’s weather during the Dark Ages. Some scientists believe that either a volcano erupted or a meteor hit the earth, causing an unusually cold period to develop. Others are more attracted to Mike Baillie’s theories involving tree rings.
We are in the midst of the greatest era of space discovery. Twenty first century spacecraft and sophisticated imaging technology are venturing into uncharted territory every day, and much of the extraordinary phenomena are happening right in our own cosmic backyard. Episode 4 Time Travel – One of the universe’s most enduring mysteries is time travel. Discover why time travel into the future is unavoidable in the Einsteinian world of relativity. As for the past the laws of physics don’t tell us it’s impossible, but the bizarre consequences of going into the past and altering the future make for mind bending science. Finally go for the future by traveling to the nearest star, 4.3 light years away in only 45 days
World War II In HD Colour is a 13 episode television documentary series recounting the major events of World War II narrated by Robert Powell. The series combines both original and colourised footage. With the very latest satellite delivered terrain mapping and state of the art graphics this story can now be told with access to information which was not previously available to other older series. Conventional wisdom has recently changed as more and more secrets have been revealed particularly in the last five to ten years as documents, files and photographs have been released. Code breaking revelations, and newly released government papers on both sides of the Atlantic have added a very insightful new dimension to the understanding of this the worlds’ greatest ever conflict. Episode 7 Turning the Tide – The Allies and the Axis are searching for a final blow to each other to end the war. While the Allies try out strategic fire bombing, Hitler tries cutting off American supply lines with submarines. So begun a long game of cat and mouse between U-Boats and British and American convoys.
The cities of the Maya were abandoned to the jungle 1000 years ago. They were rediscovered in the 19th century. Explorers came to try and learn what was here and what it meant. Now scholars are beginning to see the individuals involved, their names, the dates, their arrivals, all of this very specific information is now coming out through epigraphy, the study of hieroglyphics. The Maya ruins of the central american jungle are are full of hieroglyphs, but the missionaries of the Spanish conquest deliberately wiped out the memory of how to read these stones. The Maya kept calendars of immense complexity and accuracy. The view developed that these cities were centers of a wise and peaceful civilization that had a deep understanding of nature and the universe. But now we are learning the truth about the classic Maya cities, and the truth is that the Lords of the Maya set up a form of rule that destroyed human lives and even nature itself. This documentary charts the rise and fall of a specific Mayan Lord Yax K’uk’ Mo (pronounced yash-cook-moe), and through it the brutal world the Mayans lived in without passing judgment on the Mayans themselves.
On October 3, 1993, an elite force of 120 American Delta units and Ranger infantry were dropped into Mogadishu, Somalia to abduct two lieutenants of the Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The mission was planned to take one hour. But when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, it became a 15 hour ordeal that left a deep scar on America’s psyche. The author of the bestselling book, officials from the US and Somalia and combatants reveal what happened during the disastrous raid.
Air-conditioning, refrigeration, and superconductivity are just some of the ways technology has put cold to use. But what is cold, how do you achieve it, and how cold can it get? This documentary series explores these and other facets of the frigid. It follows the quest for cold from the unlikely father of air-conditioning, the court magician of King James I of England in the 17th century, to today’s scientists pioneering super fast computing in the quantum chill. The program is based on the definitive book on cold: Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold by Tom Shachtman. Episode 1 The Conquest of Cold – opens in the 1600s when the nature of cold and even heat were a complete mystery. Are they different phenomena or aspects of some unified feature of nature? The experiments that settled these questions helped stoke the Industrial Revolution. This episode includes Cornelius Drebbel’s spooky trick of turning summer into winter for the English king, Antoine Lavoisier’s battle with Count Benjamin Rumford over the caloric theory of heat, and Michael Faraday’s explosive experiments to liquefy gases, which established the principles that make refrigerators possible.
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.
Homer wrote his epic, The Iliad, in 700 BC 500 years after the Trojan Wars were supposed to have taken place. Did the Trojan war ever happen,or was the city destroyed by natural causes? It’s fascinated poets, painters and Hollywood directors for over 2,500 years. Join Michael Wood as he combs the cradle of civilization from Greece to Turkey and points beyond Germany, Ireland and England in search of archaeological evidence that may validate the fantastic battles immortalized in The Iliad From Schliemann’s initial cavalier bulldozing of the mound at Hisarlik, to Homer’s epics, the Hittite Empire, and the role of slave women, Wood journeys back and forth across the Aegean and elsewhere to illuminate the dawn of Western literature, myth, and history. The Women of Troy – Plundering in Bronze Age. The taking of women and children as slaves and their economic and political role. The recent African slavery parallel.
At the time of Queen Victoria’s birth in 1819, England was an agrarian society. Within a few short decades it would be transformed into an industrial superpower, with an empire spanning the globe. Queen Victoria’s Empire is both the story of this remarkable time, and an engaging portrait of a Queen who ruled over a one-fifth of the world’s population. Personal accounts, lush reenactments, and evocative cinematography from former outposts of the Empire recount the dramatic clash of personalities and cultures that would drive Victoria’s remarkable 64 year reign. Episode 3 The Moral Crusade – By 1861, Britain is the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. However, the death of Prince Albert weakens Victoria, and many of his political ideals fade from importance. David Livingstone’s explorations of the African interior fascinate the British public. Disraeli and Gladstone battle for control of the British government and debate the course of empire. The purchase of the Suez Canal solidifies British presence in the Middle East, igniting a stampede for the colonization of Africa.
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.
Tony Robinson embarks on spectacular walks through some of Britain’s most historic landscapes in search of the richest stories from it’s past. Episode 1 Stonehenge – Tony embarks on another expedition through some of Britain’s most historic landscapes. He begins with a 45 mile walk across Wiltshire, from Avebury to Stonehenge, telling the story of the remarkable development that occurred in the latter days of the Neolithic era. His route over chalk downlands and Salisbury Plain takes him through one of the greatest concentrations of prehistoric sites in Europe.
Coloseum A Gladiator’s Story, aka Colosseum Rome’s Arena of Death travels back in time to the brutality and glamour of ancient Rome, to shed light on the true manner in which gladiators fought and trained. Throughout the special, historical facts about gladiators and the Colosseum are told via the true story of the gladiator Verus. He forges friendships with other trainee gladiators and learns that life as a gladiator can be nasty, brutish and short. But he also learns that, with luck, skill and sheer courage, a star gladiator can become rich, attract admiring hordes of women and ultimately earn his freedom. Coloseum follows Verusrise to fame and relives his spectacular fight during the inaugural games at the Colosseum.
For years parallel universes were a staple of the Twilight Zone. Science fiction writers loved to speculate on the possible other universes which might exist. In one, they said, Elvis Presley might still be alive or in another the British Empire might still be going strong. Serious scientists dismissed all this speculation as absurd. But now it seems the speculation wasn’t absurd enough. Parallel universes really do exist and they are much stranger than science fiction writers dared to imagine. By the time they had finished they’d come to the conclusion that our Universe is just one bubble among an infinite number of membranous bubbles. Now imagine what might happen if two such bubble universes touched. Neil Turok from Cambridge, Burt Ovrut from the University of Pennsylvania and Paul Steinhardt from Princeton believe that has happened. The result? A very big bang indeed and a new universe was born, our Universe.
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 Hagia Sophia – We peel back the layers of this great church of Hagia Sophia to reveal its engineering secrets,and bring to life the story of its construction.