The history of Britain and the aspirations of her Christian communities can be traced in the glorious excesses of the cathedrals. From Norman grandeur to the modern interpretations found in Liverpool and Coventry, explore the changing styles of the cathedrals in our midst. A 5 part series that takes a looks at the ingenuity behind the construction of Britain’s most famous cathedrals, using CGI and reconstructions to describe the dramatic stories of riot, fire, war, murder, and flood that shaped the history of these impressive masterpieces. Flood at Winchester – Home of England’s first Kings, Winchester cathedral stood for a thousand years as a proud symbol of national identity. But in the early 1900s it faced total destruction when it was discovered that the building was literally sinking into the swamp on which it had been constructed. This ancient architectural gem owes its survival to the bravery, ingenuity and endurance of one man, working diver William Robert Walker, who put his life on the line to save a piece of England’s history. This is the extraordinary story of the cathedral that began to sink and of the incredible underwater adventure that was launched to save it.
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 1 William the Conqueror, 1066 – 1087 – By leaving his fortune and name to his illegitimate seven year old son, William, Robert the Magnificent out maneuvered the Norman barons who sought to usurp his power. In doing so, he placed his young heir in mortal danger. However, the assassination attempts and conspiracies against him instilled the boy duke William with a ruthless and cunning sense of survival. He ruthlessly suppressed Anglo-Saxons and imposed law and order in Britain’s first centralised state bureaucracy. He did much to influence the positive development of England.
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.
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.
WWII was not just a military conflict. It was also a series of psychological battles waged by the four great leaders Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In these mental duels, the “warlords” lied, schemed, charmed, flattered and cheated to win. Inter-weaving the leaders’ own words with personal recollections and private diaries, it reveals the four warlords as fascinating, flawed, and fully human. Episode 2 Churchill vs Roosevelt, May 1940April 1942 An examination of the mental battles waged between 20th century leaders Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt during the first two years of their relationship. A duel of false promises, evasion and delusion ensued, which was far removed from the more familiar image of friendship and loyalty.
Professor David Reynolds takes a fresh look at the extraordinary events and personalities that brought about the armistice of 1918, venturing beyond the familiar British account of Remembrance Day to unravel how the Germans, plunged to total defeat in just a few months at the end of the war. In a journey that takes him through command centres and battlefields, he uncovers a story of wounded egos, mental illness and political brinkmanship as statesmen and generals haggled over the terms of peace, while soldiers fought on with sustained brutality. Reynolds argues that the bitter endgame of the “war to end all wars” tragically sowed the seeds of even more appalling conflict to come.
Stonehenge is one of the most mysterious prehistoric sites known to us and for centuries its purpose has been the source of intense speculation. Now in our ground breaking special, British archaeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson unearths surprising evidence supporting a radical new vision of Stonehenge. His theory suggests that the stone circle was at the centre of one of the largest prehistoric religious complexes in the world. Parker Pearson and his team uncover the first evidence of a 4,500 year old lost settlement with at least 300 houses, it is the largest Stone Age settlement ever found in northern Europe. At its centre lie the remains of a near replica of Stonehenge built of wood. He believes that Stonehenge was built to house the spirits of the dead while the wood circle represented the living. Further evidence suggests thousands of people gathered here at the summer and winter solstices. Through CGI, dramatic recreations and narration by Donald Sutherland, we transport you to the prehistoric world of Stonehenge and provide startling revelations about this archaeological mystery.
Egypt is the title of a BBC television drama serial about various archaeological discoveries taking place in that country’s history, with the occasional “flashback” scene involving actors portraying the ancient Egyptians themselves. Episode 4 The Temple of the Sands – Belzoni is sent south again. Belzoni, guided by the image of Ramesses, digs in an unlicenced area and discovers a perfectly preserved bust. The discovery of Belzoni’s Tomb secures the Egyptologist’s reputation.
Series detailing the lives of 12 significant English rulers between 1066 and the present day. From William the Conqueror via Richard III to Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II, presenter Dr. in a thousand years, the British monarchy has evolved from divinely appointed warrior kings to benign political figureheads. Among them are some of the most fascinating historical figures conquerors, murderers, lovers and schemers. Their gripping stories are at the heart of the nation’s history. From this millennium of violence, romance, intrigue and controversy, Cambridge University’s Dr Nigel Spivey tells the stories of twelve great kings and queens. At the scenes of the decisive moments in British history, accompanied by dramatic reconstructions, he pieces together the incidents, battles and motivations that shaped our lives. Episode 12 Elizabeth the Second, 1952 – Present – The final programme in the series brings the history of the British monarchy up to date with a profile of Queen Elizabeth II. Given that Britain has lost an empire and no longer rules the waves, Nigel Spivey reflects on how much influence the Queen retains, especially when celebrities such as the Beckhams live in equal luxury and inspire greater public fascination.
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 3 The Bell Rock – Lighthouse that was created off the east coast of Scotland bringing light to the treacherous coast. The Bell Rock, a large reef 11 miles out to sea, dangerously positioned in the approach to the Firth of Forth. In 1799, over 70 ships went down in a violent storm that raged along the coast, yet still the authorities opposed the plan. Battling against the odds, Stevenson did eventually build his lighthouse, and to this day it shines out across the North Sea, the oldest offshore lighthouse still standing anywhere in the world.
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?
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 4 Arteries of the Empire – Hart-Davis analyses the Romans’ ingenious surveying methods that enabled them to build their arrow-straight roads. Groma surveying, demonstrated by Hart-Davis, allowed the surveying of perfectly straight roads such as Watling Street and Stane Street. The construction of Roman roads, demonstrated by Hart Davis, has allowed them to endure to this day. He also commissions a replica of an ingenious giant water wheel used to remove water from flooded Welsh gold mines. The remains of a Roman fortification dating back to their first century landing, as well as a museum of Roman life.
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.
Historian Hallie Rubenhold reveals the story behind the 18th century’s most infamous book Harris’s Lists, a catalogue describing the talents and attributes of London’s prostitutes. Created by a pimp, a prostitute and a poet, the Lists became an instant bestseller – even though they contained lurid and often disturbing descriptions of the lives of the common courtesans. Rubenhold uses the details found within the Lists to produce a vivid depiction of the steamy underside of Georgian life.
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 2 The Race For Absolute Zero – picks up the story in the late 19th century, when researchers plunged cold science to new lows as they succeeded in reaching the forbidding realm at which oxygen and then nitrogen liquefy. Scottish chemist James Dewar and Dutch physicist Heike Onnes are featured. The race to the bottom of the temperature scale was as zealous as the contemporaneous race to the Earth’s poles. New techniques developed in the 1990s by Daniel Kleppner set the stage for a race to create an exotic form of matter called a Bose Einstein condensate, which only forms at temperatures vanishingly close to absolute zero.
Megastructures: Built from Disaster explores how accidents throughout the world have influenced the evolution of modern structural engineering. Episode 3 Tunnels – the word evokes mystery, adventure and claustrophobia. They make mountains manageable, connect our cities and can even bring together continents. But every tunnel is an enclosed space – a very dangerous place to be if something goes wrong. This episode looks at how recent catastrophes at the Channel Tunnel, Mont Blanc and Gotthard Tunnels of Europe spawned a revolution in tunnel building technology that is still evolving today. From failsafe evacuation systems through fireproof concrete and radical new approaches to tunnel design itself this programme will see how new tunnel projects are using high tech to keep alive if the worst happens. At the core of the programme is the cutting-edge Marmaray Tunnel in Turkey – this US 4 billion project will connect Europe and Asia with a dual bore rail tunnel running under the Bosphorous Straits. But there is a problem, the Anatolian Fault Line lies 11 miles from the site.
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 Peasant – The stereotype of the medieval peasant is a toothless, filthy, ignorant wretch, a slave to his feudal lord and master. Terry Jones discovers a very different reality. They had more holidays than us, very often their houses were bigger, they frequently ate better and arguably had more influence in the corridors of power. The average peasant was, in fact, pretty intelligent.
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.
Who Do You Think You Are? is a British genealogy documentary series. In each episode, a celebrity traces their family tree. Episode Boris Johnson – He compares himself to a jar of honey found on a supermarket shelf, “the product of many countries”. He thinks he is part Jewish, part French, part English, part American, part pterodactyl and, unpredictably, part Turkish. He knows that his grandfather, “Johnny”, was the son of a Turkish journalist and politician who was ultimately kidnapped and lynched in the early 1920s, but knows little about his life, reputation and the circumstances of his death. He learns more about the political climate of his great-grandfather’s era in Turkey and discovers personal details about his life and death. Returning to western Europe, Boris sets off in search of the truth about Granny Butter’s background, and follows an intriguing family trail that leads him to a surprising conclusion.
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.
The Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in November 1947 was a day of national celebration. But the young couple’s path to the altar had been strewn with controversy and difficulties. Behind the smiling faces and the colourful regalia lay a story of political machination, public hostility and court intrigue. This documentary captures the story of the princess from the moment when her love life became a matter of dynastic and political importance. It shows how Philip’s suitability was called into question. The stakes could not have been much higher the popularity and therefore the future of the monarchy itself.
The history of Britain and the aspirations of her Christian communities can be traced in the glorious excesses of the cathedrals. From Norman grandeur to the modern interpretations found in Liverpool and Coventry, explore the changing styles of the cathedrals in our midst. A 5 part series that takes a looks at the ingenuity behind the construction of Britain’s most famous cathedrals, using CGI and reconstructions to describe the dramatic stories of riot, fire, war, murder, and flood that shaped the history of these impressive masterpieces. Murder at Cantebury – Canterbury was at the forefront of an architectural revolution the first Gothic cathedral to be built in Britain. But the building we know today has its origins in the most infamous murder of the medieval age – Thomas Becket in 1170. After his death a devastating fire meant that Canterbury could be rebuilt as a shrine to the martyred archbishop. This is the cathedral as theatre with the story of the murder etched in stone, marble and glass. It takes the pilgrim on a journey from darkness into light – from the horrors of the slaying in the North transept to the new Trinity Chapel where Becket was reburied in a magnificent tomb sparkling with gold and precious stones.
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 2 Henry the Second, 1154 – 1189 – The son of a French duke and English princess, the Plantagenet princeling who learned his statecraft and the arts of war in 17 years of bloody in-fighting with his cousin Stephen before succeeding to the throne. During this time he had become a battle-hardened leader, but also a distrustful and power-hungry regent, a weakness that would be his undoing. With the help of Thomas Beckett he restored the rule of law in chaotic England, but made the mistake of appointing his high minded friend Archbishop of Canterbury, only to find him a stubborn defender of ecclesiastical independence rather than an obedient ally.
Being a royal mistress really isn’t easy. It’s a tightrope walk between satisfying the king, keeping your husband happy and avoiding any whiff of scandal. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall got it right … in the end. She is the only royal mistress ever to marry her Prince Charming. But then she did learn from a real expert, her own great grandmother Mrs. Alice Keppel, the long term mistress of King Edward VII. Alice was hailed as one of the great beauties of the Naughty Nineties, renowned for her narrow waist and ample bosom. She was the perfect royal mistress charming, intelligent, gorgeous and above all else, discrete. Set against a scintillating background of aristocratic adultery, historian Kate Williams uncovers Alice’s incredible story, investigating the magical childhood in Scotland that honed her ambition and the marriage to George Keppel that actually thrived on infidelity.