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.
Tory! Tory! Tory! is a 2006 BBC television documentary series on the history of the people and ideas that formed Thatcherism told through the eyes of those on the New Right. It was nominated for the best Historical Documentary at the Grierson Awards in 2006. The series was commissioned by the newly appointed Controller of BBC Four Janice Hadlow as a companion piece to the successful series Lefties. Episode 2 The Road to Power – This edition tells the story of a collection of mavericks and outsiders who set out to help Margaret Thatcher kick start a political revolution. The monetarist policies used to defeat inflation caused large-scale unemployment. Riots broke out across Britain, there was growing dissent even inside the government. How would Mrs Thatcher survive her plummeting popularity? Thatcher, not yet secure within her own party since her election to the leadership had surprised many people, appointed moderates to her cabinet. Thatcher’s close ally, Sir Keith Joseph, established the independent Centre for Policy Studies where John Hoskyns and Norman Strauss produced a strategic plan that called for a revolutionary free market government to tackle the problems caused by the trade unions. A revolt in Thatcher’s Cabinet prompted a reshuffle to oust opponents but her leadership seemed in doubt. However, her popularity and revolution were given a boost by the successful Falklands War and the improving economy.
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.
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 Suez crisis in the 1950s signaled the end of Britain’s history as a power that could act alone on the world stage. This series tells the story of Suez using dramatic reconstructions and interviews with participants and witnesses to the crisis. The Suez Canal in Egypt was a symbol of western dominance. France and Britain were the major shareholders in the company that ran the canal and British troops occupied its banks. When Gamal Abdul Nasser came to power in 1954, his main objective was to remove the British from Egypt. The British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, did not understand that the world had changed. Episode 2 Conspiracy – Anthony Eden regarded Nasser as a dictator whose claim to represent all Arabs was a direct threat to British interests in the Middle East. He was determined to make Nasser reverse his decision by force if necessary. Britain plotted with France and Israel to gain back control of the canal. Hear from members of the secret conference that hatched the plan including Douglas Hurd, then private secretary to the British ambassador to the UN, who describes the nightmare of having to sell Eden’s cover story for the plot. And it reveals how an MP discovered what Eden was really up to and attempted to expose him in the House of Commons.
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.
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.
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. The Wealth of the Windsors – Chester cathedral, the setting for royal maundy service, one of the highlights of the royal calender. The day on which, by tradition, the soverign distributes alms to the poor. The purses are red and white, the red contain 5.50 pounds in cash. The royal maundy service is one of the rare occasions on which the Queen actually handles money, one of the few times when royalty is seen giving money away. The subject of money has developed into one of the most contentious issues surrounding the british monarchy today. A recent opinion pole shows that 3/4 of the population think that the royal family should not receive as much money as it does, and almost have went further still, saying the royal family is an expense the country cannot afford. So just what is the true cost of the monarchy and how harmful are arguments about money likely to be to the house of Windsor.
On April 25, 1953, the science journal Nature announced that James Watson and Francis Crick had discovered the double helix structure of DNA, the molecule that is fundamental to life. But absent from most accounts of their Nobel Prize winning work is the contribution made by a scientist, molecular biologist and crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, who would never know that Watson and Crick had seen a key piece of her data without her permission and that it would lead them to the double helix. Fifty years later, this documentary unravels the mystery behind the discovery of the double helix and investigates the seminal role that Rosalind Franklin and her remarkable X-ray photograph played in one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science.
A charismatic original, Ivor Gurney, who prior to the Great War had suffered a nervous breakdown at the Royal College of Music, enlisted as an experiment, he actually found the war invigorating and for a while his mental health improved. Unlike the other war poets Gurney wasn’t a commissioned officer, he was an ordinary front line soldier. A private. The poetry he wrote there is uniquely powerful, capturing the experience of the ordinary soldier, and the this documentary argues that it is the equal of the work of any of the more well known soldier poets of WWI.
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.
Tory! Tory! Tory! is a 2006 BBC television documentary series on the history of the people and ideas that formed Thatcherism told through the eyes of those on the New Right. It was nominated for the best Historical Documentary at the Grierson Awards in 2006. The series was commissioned by the newly appointed Controller of BBC Four Janice Hadlow as a companion piece to the successful series Lefties. Episode 3 The Exercise of Power – This edition describes how Margaret Thatcher and her supporters rode on her popularity after the Falklands War to roll out a series of radical policies that would transform Britain and how this ideological crusade would divide Britain and her own party, culminating with a leadership challenge and her departure from office. The Conservatives held onto power for another seven years under Sir John Major 1990-97, but made the electorate force them out on 1 May 1997, heralding the introduction of Tony Blair and New Labour that would continue the Thatcherite revolution, despite being of the center left.
This revealing film uses newly discovered letters written by Prince Eddy himself to explore whether his early death saved Britain from a monster, or cheated the nation of a good king. For the first time, Eddy’s own words serve in his defence in a fresh investigation of the remarkable kind Britain never had.
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.
How would a modern day couple about town fare on an Edwardian middle class gourmet’s diet? In Edwardian Supersize Me food critic and writer Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins accept the challenge to live like an Edwardian gent and lady, with traditional dress, parlour games, dinner parties and picnics all thrown in for good measure. Celebrity chef Sophie Grigson ensure Giles and Sue dine on the best the Edwardian era had to offer. Their final challenge is a 12 course “recreation” banquet at The Savoy based on one cooked at the hotel on 12 January 1905 In just a few years at the start of the 20th century, Britain changed in unimaginable ways. From the rise of the “commuter classes” to the birth of brands, the High Street and tabloid journalism, the Edwardians began the march towards the modern world we know today. The Edwardians The Birth Of Now, investigates, interrogates and celebrates the richness and excitement of this pioneering and world-changing time.
Drought, water rationing, forest fires, riots and Punk made the tropical summer of 1976 one of the most dramatic in British history. The great British summertime is when the nation shrugs off its winter blues people spill out into the sunshine and let passions run free, but in 1976 something strange happened something more than the usual British enthusiasm for fun in the sun. It was the hottest summer on record and under the glaring heat tension filled the air. While the country baked and sweltered, shriveled and dried out the crusty British establishment suddenly found itself under attack. In the space of a few long hot months British society suffered an upheavel which would transform a generation. The summer started with a bang on May 1, cup final day. Second division underdog South Hampton had fought it’s way to the final only to face one of the countries greatest teams, Manchester United. Under the hot sunshine South Hampton was in danger of trying to hard. The game remained goal less as South Hampton held on for 83 minutes, then scored and took the cup. Giant killing South Hampton had set the tones for the following months. The underdogs were on the march and Britain’s old order was about to be challenged. England was in need of change, despite the weather in the summer of 1976, the social climate was far from sunny. Unemployment and inflation was the highest since World War II, the unions were repeatedly striking and the economy was facing bankruptcy. It seemed as if everyone was skint. For young people especially the prospects was bleak in June a new army of high school graduates joined record numbers at the welfare office lines. Not even the sunniest weather in years could mask the pervading sense of despair. As those worst off looked to the scapegoats immigrants were soon being blamed for all the countries problems. Inflamatory programs on TV fueled an overtly racist climate. The heat wave showed no sign of subsiding. On June 26 the temperature in London hit an all time record of 35 degrees celsius, 95 degrees fahrenheit. But even in the heat young people still dressed to impress as ever fashion was the clearest way to make a statement about who you were and how you felt. The perfect weather suited the quintessential English sport of cricket. But in the summer of 1976 the game would experience a different kind of heat. The West Indies team was visiting england for the season the two sides would battle it out over 5 matches, each lasting up to 5 days. With a proud but alienated caribbean community living in England the rivalry was always going to be intense, but England’s team captain made things worse with his comments. The wonderful heat wave soon caused problems as drought set in. For the first time in british history water had to be rationed. The country rallied round the attempt to save water. As ever blue peter’s audience played its part. with slogans “think before you drink” and “don’t rush to flush”. The situation was critical in South Wales. causing fears the shortage of water would lead to a shortage in beer. James Hunt made his mark in Formula 1 racing, and his winning boosted England’s self esteem. 1976 was a great year for home grown black band The Real Thing, they came from one of Britain’s poorest areas their song “You to me are everything” raced up the charts to number 1. Early efforts to get the public to save water hadn’t worked. The goverment deicded to appoint Dennis Howl minister for drought. Throughout the summer punk rock was rapidly gaining momentum, they were blazing the trail for a change in music tastes, a brand new underground movement as The Damned, Buzzcocks, and The Clash punk bands debuted. After months of drought the parched landscape began to burn as forest fires raged up and down the country. At the end of August the rains finally came, extinguishing the fires and providing respite from the heat. But even 30 years later the impact of those long hot unforgettable days is still with Britains today. The summer of 76 was an awakening, it was the pivotal moment when the old gray monoculture of Britain was about to change into something different.
Thousands of years ago, Myths were used to help frame the world of the ancients, and dictate the guidelines of their societies. Today, they are often the first stories we learn as children, iconic tales in which good and evil clash, and humanity and fantasy collide. But what is the reality behind these stories? Each episode connects ancient myths to actual historical events, as well as to events in the Bible and other cultures mythologies, gaining important historical insight from renowned scholars in search of the truth behind the legends. Episode 9 Tolkien’s Monsters – About J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and how both legends and real life influenced it.
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. The Power And The Glory – The annual state opening of parliament is a magnificent royal event but it’s not just a glittering show. Beyond the diamonds and gold, red velvet and ermin the entire ritual symbolizes the role of the monarch at the apex of the british political system. A system of government that has not changed in its fundamentals for hundreds of years. Most people today tend to assume that despite the trappings, the political role of the monarchy is wholy symbolic long since stripped of any real significance. In fact the monarchy continues to have a great impact on the character of british politics and the queen herself continues to play the pivotal role in the political system. What has changed is the balance of power.
Ben MacIntyre brings to life his bestselling book Agent Zigzag, the gripping true story of Britain’s most extraordinary wartime double agent, Eddie Chapman, he duped the Germans so successfully that he was awarded their highest decoration, the Iron Cross. He remains the only British citizen ever to win one. Including remarkable and newly discovered footage from an interview Chapman gave three years before his death in 1997, the programme goes on the trail of one of Britain’s most unlikely heroes – a story of adventure, love, intrigue and astonishing courage.
Starts with an old fashioned British Pathe title card and plays just like an old extended newsreel. No controversy, no real questioning of the Queen Mother’s motives or choices, but an interesting first in depth look. Labelled by Hitler as the most dangerous woman in Europe but known more affectionately as the Little Duchess then the Queen Mother she reinvigorated the Royal Family. This is the story of how the nation’s favourite grandmother carved a place in her nation’s hearts forever. A Woman of her Century is a biographical celebration of her long and distinguished life.
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.
The program covered the phenomena of unidentified flying and submerged objects, close encounters with alleged extraterrestrial life, and alleged military and government cover up conspiracies. Episode 5 Crop Circle Controversy – The puzzling formations known as crop circles have appeared worldwide throughout history. In the Middle Ages, they were called “witch” or “pixie” circles, and a 1678 woodcut, the “Mowing Devil”, depicts one thought to be Satan’s work. But in the 1980s, the phenomenon escalated, with dozens of crop circles popping up in England and other countries. When two Englishmen claimed they had perpetrated the hoax, many felt the riddle was solved. And yet, more have materialized. We explore the mystery.
Born in 1905, John was the youngest of George V’s children. Diagnosed with epilepsy, he died in 1919 after a particularly severe seizure. Had he lived he would have been the present Queen’s uncle. The popular image of Prince John has since been one of a neglected child who was regarded as an embarrassment and shut away from public view, deprived of contact with his family. Using testimonies of individuals with direct personal connections to the prince, together with new research and photographs of the real “Johnny”, this documentary unravels some of the mysteries and misconceptions surrounding him, presenting a more complete story than has ever been told before.