A major 14 part television series in which art historian Tim Marlow takes a fresh look at the most important artworks of some of the greatest artists in history. Shot on location in over 50 galleries, museums, churches and palaces throughout Europe and the United States, this series is a comprehensive survey of the history of Western art. Both intelligent and informative, the series aims to provide an uncomplicated and accessible analysis of the works and artists featured including Giotto, Michelangelo and Raphael
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.
The period of over 125 years from the beginning of the 19th century saw the creation of some of the world’s most remarkable feats of engineering. Seven of the most notable are described here, each one proving that human creativity is as much alive in the modern world as it was in ancient times. Episode 4 The Sewer King – In the summer of 1858 London was in the grip of a crisis known as the Great Stink. The population had grown rapidly during the first half of the 19th century, yet there had been no provision for sanitation. Three epidemics of cholera had swept through the city, leaving over 30,000 people dead. And sewage was everywhere.
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.
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 5 Edge of Empire – Hart-Davis visits Hadrian’s Wall and demonstrates how communications were the key to the success of the Roman military machine. Hadrian’s Wall marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire, and had defensive features such as milecastles and forts such as Housesteads. At supply depots such as Arbeia, Romans baked bread in open fires. The remains of a Roman fort and settlement, with full-scale reconstructed buildings and an excellent museum. Excavations are in progress. Many documents have been discovered at Vindolanda fort, such as postcards made out of thin wood veneer.
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?
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 Musson, head 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 evidence, that 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.
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.
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.
Buckle on your armor and pick up your lute. Legendary Monty Python star and medieval scholar Terry Jones opens your eyes to the truths behind nine medieval characters you thought you knew. Through a lively mix of humor and research, you’ll see beyond Renaissance myths and time worn stereotypes. The Monk – A life of prayer in peaceful service to God? Not for many medieval monks, who devoted their lives to making lots and lots of money. Religion was big business in those days and the merchandising opportunities endless when you had a constant stream of devoted, unquestioning worshippers.
The story of Frankenstein has haunted us for almost 200 years a monster brought to life by a mad scientist in his secret laboratory. But is Mary Shelley’s book pure fiction after all? This programme uncovers facts and sheds light on a dark world of bizarre scientific experiments intended to unlock the secret of life.
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.
Louis Mountbatten was not only Prince Phillip’s uncle, he was an Admiral of the Fleet, a statesman, Viceroy of the British Indian Empire, Governor-General of the Independent India and a First Sea Lord. But in the summer of 1979, on a sailing holiday in the Republic of Ireland, he became the victim of an IRA assassination. This documentary explores the events surrounding the bomb explosion, which took the life of not just Mountbatten, but his 14 year old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, a 15 year old cabin boy and 83 year old Baroness Brabourne.
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.
CSI based documentary series, which uncovered the tragic history of Britain’s young murderers, including the horrific cases of Jamie Bulger & Mary Bell. On 25 May 1968, the day before her 11th birthday, Mary Bell strangled four-year-old Martin Brown in a derelict house. On 31 July 1968, the pair took part in the death, again by strangling, of three-year-old Brian Howe, on wasteland in the same Scotswood area. As the girls were so young and their testimonies contradicted each other, the precise details of what happened has never been entirely clear.
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.
The birth of the fighter plane between 1914 and 1918, tracing how the development of aircraft technology during the pressure cooker of war changed what was an eccentric folly into a deadly weapon. The documentary explores the brave new world of dogfights, aerial reconnaissance and bombing missions, as British pioneers such as Geoffrey de Havilland competed to outdo Anton Fokker, the Dutchman whose planes helped Germany dominate the skies. The story is rounded out with experiments and demonstrations using the Vintage Aviators, film-maker Peter Jackson’s fleet of replica First World War aircraft.
It was a time of great bitterness and hatred in Britain, a war that set father against son and brother against brother. The breakdown in relations between a Parliament with a strong purpose and a King who believed in his divine right to rule, set the scene for a series of brutal battles that were truly a struggle for the soul of a nation. The outcome of the English Civil War shaped the course of the nation’s history, and laid the foundations of the country as it is today. Episode Blood on Our Hands – England suffered, proportionately, greater losses than in the First World War. A newly free media stoked the fires of suspicion and religious hatred to push the nation, step by step, towards carnage. Blood on Our Hands explores the real reasons behind the English Civil War and brings to life through the personal testimony of everyday people the story of how the nation turned on itself. Brilliana, Lady Harley, under siege in her Herefordshire home, smuggles coded appeals for help to her teenage son in the army. Former journeyman tanner Sgt Wharton gets a taste for leadership only to die during his first battle. And humble wood turner, Nehemiah Wallington, one of a new breed of news junkies, watches the terrible human tragedy unfold.
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 1 Wicked and Wild features Lady Seymour Worsley (Peephole Princess), Sophie Dawes (First Lady of Lust), Lady Sybilla Metham (York’s Robber Barroness), Jane Jameson (Red Hot Killer) and Wallis Simpson (Queen of the Goldiggers).
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.
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 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.
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.