What was it like to live in Britain during the First World War? How did it change the country, dramatically, and permanently? Those are the questions that lie behind Britain’s Great War, the four part series presented by Jeremy Paxman. There were huge changes in Britain too at the end of it, standards of health, nutrition, political representation and sexual equality had risen as the state took a far greater responsibility for its citizens than had ever before been imagined. Britain’s Great War does not play down the grief and suffering of a terrible conflict. Rather it chooses to tell a different, unfamiliar story, the story of how the First World War affected the people of Britain, and dragged the country into the modern age. Episode 1 War Comes To Britain – Traces the story of the dramatic early stages of the war, from stunned disbelief to the mass recruitment of volunteer soldiers. Britain expanded its small army of 80,000 men in France and mobilised 1,500,000 volunteers. Fear of invasion grips the country, Boy scouts guard bridges, and spies are suspected everywhere. For the first time, British civilians are fired on by enemy ships and bombed from the air. Jeremy Paxman, host of the documentary, meets a 105 year old eyewitness to the shelling of Hartlepool, who describes how she thought the Germans had landed. Total war has come to Britain.
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. Pomp And Popularity – The Queen is still cheered wherever she goes emphasizing the remarkable survival of the monarchy in britain while other countries have either lost their kings and queens or made them insignificant. This series looks at the monarchy at a time when the very public problems in the private lives of the royal family has fueled a new debate about the monarchy’s place in british society. But whatever it’s difficulties today history shows that the monarchy has managed to survive even greater crisis in the past.
In the year that marked the 40th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, this film portrays all the pomp and grandure that surrounds the monarchy, including footage of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation, behind the scenes preparations for a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, and an interview with the flagman who hoists the Royal Standard at the precise moment the Queen enters the palace. While this is not the most comprehensive video on the Queen it focuses on many of the traditions surrounding the monarchy. Includes segments titled The Trial of the Pyx, Swan Upping, Lord Lieutenants, The Royal Standard, The Royal Maundy Service, Colour Drills, The Royal Company of Archers and more.
Documentary about the painters Augustus John and his young protege James Dickson Innes who, in 1911, left London for the wild Arenig Valley in North Wales. Over three years, they created a body of work to rival the visionary landscapes of Matisse. The paintings were the entry point for British art into Post-Impressionism. The Arenig mountain had such a hypnotic fascination for Innes that in 1910 he committed Arenig Fawr obsessively to canvas in a free and impulsive way which, one expert said, no British artist had yet managed. His work excited John, older by nine years, into following him up to North Wales, in due course bringing his chaotic menage along too. It was a fruitful stay. In John’s paintings the mountain’s contours had to compete with a figure, invariably a sinewy female and often swathed in swirling Romany scarves, parked foursquare in the foreground. One of these women was the sultry beauty Euphemia Lamb who bedded both men (among many others) and who would break Innes’s heart. But the profounder relationship of the two men seems to have been, on a creative level, with each other and with the landscape.
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she left behind an extended family network that spanned nine European thrones. This dynasty was the very pinnacle of high society and family members referred to themselves as “The Club”. But from the moment Queen Victoria died, “The Club” was doomed. Long forgotten royal correspondence, admiralty telegrams and secret service records discovered by historian Dr Andrew Cook reveal an amazing trail of events. It’s an incredible story played out against a backdrop of global war and revolution a moment in time that would change the course of the 20th century.
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 1 Outsiders – This edition tells of the radicals in the political wilderness after World War II who saw the foundation of the Welfare State as the thin end of a totalitarian wedge. At first they were seen as cranks, but gradually they attracted supporters within the political mainstream. It was only when Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party that they saw a champion. The re-emergence of classical liberalism began with Antony Fisher, an old Etonian chicken farmer, who made a fortune by introducing battery cage farming into the UK. Fisher had lost his younger brother fighting against Nazi Germany in the Battle of Britain and was determined to use his fortune to combat what he saw as the totalitarian tendencies of the Labour Government’s policies like nationalisation, price controls and the welfare state.
Documentary telling the story behind the Pontmorlais First World War memorial in Merthyr Tydfil. In recent years, the memorial has been suffering from neglect and vandalism. The programme looks at how a new generation of children from Cyfarthfa Junior school in Merthyr are introduced to the idea of why war memorials were erected, and their significance in the community. The children took part in a Heritage Lottery project where they helped produce an animation film about the Pontmorlais memorial alongside professional film makers. The film follows the children’s exploration of war, through a series of workshops and visits which are locally and nationally based, from Cyfarthfa Castle Museum to the Cenotaph and the Imperial War Museum in London. The four minute animation film, which the children helped produce, is shown in the documentary.
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 15 The Two Winstons – The lives of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who created the hero Winston Smith in his novel 1984. These men had a huge personal impact on the historian and touched many of the key events of the 20th century, including the World Wars and the Depression.
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 1 Betrayal – Friends and intimates of both Nasser and Eden recall the events that put them on a collision path. For Eden, Nasser was a threat to peace in the Middle East. For Nasser, Eden was standing in the way of securing his country’s future. When Britain and America refused to help Nasser to finance his ambitious project to build the Aswan Dam, it was the last straw.
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.
In March 1984, the government announced plans to close 20 coalmines, with the loss of 20,000 jobs. National Union of Mineworkers leader Arthur Scargill led his workers out on strike. This documentary uses extensive archive footage and the recollections of an eclectic mix of the key players from both camps, including politicians, policemen, comedians, pop stars and, of course, miners and their wives, to recount the events of this unique and formative period in modern domestic history: the year Britain went to war.
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.
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. Crown And Country – The contrast between the position of the Prince of Wales and a group of young unemployed people he addresses at a week long course, sponsored by the Prince’s Trust, could not be more stark, and it goes to the heart of a central problem for the monarchy today. What short of relation should it, the embodiment of class, have to a society that is supposed to be increasingly class-less. The monarchy itself has long been aware of this problem and the Prince of Wales is not the first member of his family to attempt to bridge the gap between crown and people. George VI, conscience that society was becoming democratic, established the Duke of York camps to bridge the gap between public and state school boys. This episode discusses the attempt of the royal family over the years to join crown and country.
This documentary looks at the fact that perhaps one in every hundred people experiences a blending of the senses. Imagine if every time you saw someone called Derek you got a strong taste of earwax in your mouth. It happens to James Wannerton, who runs a pub. Derek is one of his regulars. Another regular’s name gives him the taste of wet nappies. For some puzzling reason, James’s sense of sound and taste are intermingled. He has a mysterious condition called synaesthesia, in which this senses have become linked. For decades synaesthesia baffled the scientific community and noone could quite believe it was real. Some put it down to an overactive imagination others thought it was caused by associations from childhood that had survived into later life. In the end noone could find out what was causing it, so synaesthesia was placed in the same scientific category as seances and spoon bending. But Professor Ramachandran thought it should be taken more seriously.
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.
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.