Episode 13 Victoria and her Sisters

From the dawn of civilization to the 20th centuryA 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 13 Victoria and Her Sisters – The changing role of women in the Victorian eralooking at the work of novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, whose fiction highlighted the plight of needy factory workers. ground breaking efforts of doctor Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, health campaigner Mary Seacole and political activists Harriet Stuart Mill and Annie Besant.

Episode 1

From Wales to Timbuktu is a two part series about the meeting of two cultures through the eyes and words of teenagers from mid Wales. In February 2009four specially selected students travelled to Mali in Africa, on a 10 day literary adventure. Their aim was to immerse themselves in the culture of Timbuktu, Hay-on-Wye’s twin town. They recorded their experiences, observations and revelations by keeping diaries and writing notes. Key to their experience was the guidance of a writing mentor Tom Bullough a published author from Powys. Hay-on-Wye and Timbuktu are twinned not just as municipalities but also through their fundamental association with literature and the world of books. Timbuktu is the oldest home of the written word in Africa.

Jason And The Golden Fleece

Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earthexploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. Jason and the Golden Fleece The tale of Jason, the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece is one of the oldest stories in all of Greek myth. In this episode, Michael Wood traces the route of Jason and his famous boat, the Argo, along its route from Greece to Turkey and Georgia.

The Harlot’s Handbook

Historian Hallie Rubenhold reveals the story behind the 18th century’s most infamous book Harris’s Listsa 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.

Episode 5 Empire of the Hittites

Homer wrote his epicThe 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. Empire of the Hittites – Decisive documental evidence from the Hittites. Recurrent conflicts with the Mycenaeans.

Episode 15 The Two Winstons

From the dawn of civilization to the 20th centuryA 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 Orwellwho 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.

Episode 2

From Wales to Timbuktu is a two part series about the meeting of two cultures through the eyes and words of teenagers from mid Wales. In February 2009four specially selected students travelled to Mali in Africa, on a 10 day literary adventure. Their aim was to immerse themselves in the culture of Timbuktu, Hay-on-Wye’s twin town. They recorded their experiences, observations and revelations by keeping diaries and writing notes. Key to their experience was the guidance of a writing mentor Tom Bullough a published author from Powys. Hay-on-Wye and Timbuktu are twinned not just as municipalities but also through their fundamental association with literature and the world of books. Timbuktu is the oldest home of the written word in Africa.

King Arthur The Once And Future King

Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earthexploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. Arthur the Once and Future King In this episode of the series, Wood explores the greatest British myth the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Traveling round the Celtic world from Cornwall to Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland, Wood uncovers the extraordinary story of how a shadowy Welsh freedom fighter

The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu

Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as OxfordTimbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans. Viewers meet local scholars, as well as experts from across Africa and the Western world, who elucidate just how valuable these fragile treasures are to our knowledge of Africa, Islam, and the growth of literacy outside the Western tradition.

Episode 6 The Fall of Troy

Homer wrote his epicThe 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 Fall of Troy – The Trojan conflict and the Mediterranean late Bronze Age collapse.

The Lost Treasurey of the Alexandria Library

Over 2000 years ago the now stark sprawling ruin of AlexandriaEgypt was probably the most important center for learning in the world. The seeds of the west’s present day culture were sewn in it’s old gallery rooms. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the library at Alexandria is that it lasted for over 6 centuries and yet ruins may be all that remains. Founding of the Library at Alexandria has been called the beginning of modern history. More than just a library, it was the first world research center. For hundreds of years Alexandria invited dignitaries from around the world to study in it’s library halls Resident scholars could live, eat learn and work with visitors who brought important new information to Alexandria.

Episode 2 The Thynkyng Revolution

What an unruly lot! Beheadingsmurder, divorce, rows with the Pope, civil war, fire and plague. The headline stories from the Tudor and Stuart years represent a roller-coaster ride through one of the most important periods of history in the development of modern Britain. Most know the bloody, battle filled history of the Tudor period, not many know the accomplishments of the period. Adam Hart-Davis travels through England in search of Tudor excellence in science, art, printing, exploration and more. Ranging from a shepherd’s discovery of graphite which led to the first pencil, to a fuller understanding of human anatomy once Henry VII legalized human dissection. Episode 2 The Thinkynge Revolution – Hart-Davis travels around Britain to introduce the idea and inventions of the Tudor Age in science, literature and education. The first printing press, like the one recreated at St Bride Printing Library, was brought to England by William Paxton. The resulting printing revolution included William Tyndale’s English bible that lead to the standardisation of the English language. State education was founded by Henry VIII providing opportunities for Christopher Marlowe and William Harvey amongst others. Modern medicine began from the Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus’ belief that minerals and chemicals could be used to treat diseases. Observational science came of age when Thomas Diggs recorded the first observation of a supernova.

Shangri-La

Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earthexploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. The Search for Shangri-La – Wood’s search for Shangri-La takes him on a thrilling trek through India, Nepal and Tibet. The tale of the magical hidden valley of Shangri-La was popularized in the 1930s by James Hilton in his novel, Lost Horizon. But, the story of a lost kingdom behind the Himalayas free from war and suffering is descended from a much older Indian myth. When Europeans first caught wind of the tale back in the 16th Century, they set about trying to discover it. To find the truth behind the legend, Michael follows their track on foot through the Maoist controlled lands of Western Nepal and then on into Tibet. On the way he visits Mount Kailash

The Pendle Witch Child

Simon Armitage presents the extraordinary story of the most disturbing witch trial in British history and the key role played in it by one nine year old girl. Jennet Devicea beggar girl from Pendle in Lancashire, was the star witness in the trial in 1612 of her own mother, her brother, her sister and many of her neighbours and, thanks to her chilling testimony, they were all hanged. Armitage explores the lethal power and influence of one child’s words – a story of fear, magic and demonic pacts retold partly with vivid and innovative hand drawn animation.

Episode 2 India Empire Of Spirit

As the world approaches the 21st centurythis new series hosted by Michael Woods and produced in 1991, reminds us that other nations and cultures prospered for hundreds or even thousands of years. Now all that remains is the legacy of their civilizations, present and influential in our own. Shot on location on four continents, Legacy takes a different viewpoint from other series that concentrate primarily on the the Western view of history. Visiting China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Meso-America, this series traces the rise of both Asian and western civilization. India The Empire of the Spirit – Ancient India is with us today in the living tradition of the Hindu religion, the basis of Indian culture. The traditions that are honored by millions of Hindus in the present were born in the Indus valley 5,000 years ago.

Episode 1 A Brush with Wisdom

How did an Indian Buddhist shrine influence a Japanese pagoda? How are Italian pigs and cowry shells related to porcelain? These intriguing questions are investigated in Artifactsa series that explores the origins and hidden connections among the art and artifacts of the great cultures and belief systems across Asia to understand the impact of calligraphy, porcelain, architecture, metallurgy, wood block printing and silk on Asian history and on the history of the world in general. Episode 1 A Brush with Wisdom – Enter the hidden world of Chinese painting. In China, they say to understand painting you need to understand calligraphy – the art of writing Chinese characters with a brush.

Clarissa and the King’s Cookbook

Clarissa Dickson-Wright tracks down Britain’s oldest known cookbookKing Richard II’s 700 year old scroll The Forme of Cury, and compares its contents with the way we eat today, as well as re-creating some of the dishes for a group of food and medieval history experts. Documentary in which self-confessed medieval foodie Clarissa Dickson Wright tracks down Britain’s oldest known cookbook The Forme of Cury, a 700 year old scroll written during the reign of King Richard II from recipes created by the king’s master chefs and wonders if this ancient manuscript may have influenced the way people eat today. On her culinary journey through medieval history she reawakens recipes that have lain dormant for centuries and discovers dishes that are still prepared now.

The Queen Of Sheba

Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earth exploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. The Queen of Sheba Michael Wood begins his quest with an exotic and mysterious woman of power.

The Poet Who Loved the War Ivor Gurney

A charismatic originalIvor 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.

Illuminations Treasures Of The Middle Ages

Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon visits an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam MuseumCambridge, which contains a treasure trove of the world’s most important illuminated manuscripts. Germaine Greer joins the modern day illustrator Quentin Blake to consider the religious and political power of these beautiful medieval masterpieces, and to assess their place in the history of art and book production.

Episode 5 Prints of the Floating World

How did an Indian Buddhist shrine influence a Japanese pagoda? How are Italian pigs and cowry shells related to porcelain? These intriguing questions are investigated in Artifactsa series that explores the origins and hidden connections among the art and artifacts of the great cultures and belief systems across Asia to understand the impact of calligraphy, porcelain, architecture, metallurgy, wood block printing and silk on Asian history and on the history of the world in general. Episode 5 Prints of the Floating World – Today’s Japan. Everywhere you look, amazing images fight for your attention. This is the graphic art for which Japan is justly famous. It has it’s roots in the age of the woodblock print, or Ukiyo – e” an art form whose impact was as revolutionary in Japan as Gutenberg’s printed books were in the west.

Decoded Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol

Dan Brown’s latest blockbusterThe Lost Symbol has Professor Robert Langdon on a frantic quest to solve impossible riddles, trying to save the life of the leading Freemason in Washington D.C. Brown is as keen as ever for readers to know that all the organisations in this novel existall the, rituals, science artwork and monuments in this book are real”. In this sequel to 2005’s programme The Real Da Vinci Code Tony Robinson sets off to find the truth behind these claims and the novel’s plot. On his journey Tony must grapple with a world of impenetrable symbols and untangle the Freemasons’ strange involvement in the creation of the USA. He criss-crosses the Atlantic as he digs deeper and deeper to answer key questions thrown up by this complex novel. Did the Freemasons create the United States of America for their own secret purposes? Did they encode strange symbols into the streets and structures of the nation’s capital? What could they have learnt from 17th century alchemists like Isaac Newton? Can Tony use the power of his mind to move objects? And are the Masons really still powerful today?”

Episode 1 A Time of Revolution

In Search of Shakespeare is a four part series exploring the life of the world’s greatest and most famous writer. It takes the form of a detective storya documentary search, and a journey not the style of historical TV shows that use re-enactments and tableaux. There is no one dressed up as Will Shakespeare or Queen Elizabeth! Instead the Royal Shakespeare Company gives a group of Britain’s best young actors and actresses the chance to go on tje road and play in the places where his company played. Shot documentary style, on and off stage, the successors of Shakespeare’s company give us a magical glimpse into how it was done playing scenes from all Shakespeare’s great shows in Tudor Guildhalls, Royal Palaces like Hampton Court, and even in broad daylight. But the core of the series is a biography. The story of one Elizabethan, his life, family and friendships, his triumphs and disasters, his loves and his losses. Episode 1 A Time Of Revolution – Sets Shakespeare’s life in the early years of Elizabeth’s reign, at the beginning of Elizabeth’s Cultural Revolution. The age is marked by the battle of conscience and power, which will lead to religious and class struggle, and eventually to Civil War.

The Real DaVinci Code

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.

Stephen Fry and The Machine That Made Us

The Gutenberg Press was perhaps the most revolutionary machine ever invented. Stephen Fry discovers the lengths to which Gutenberg went to keep his project secret then helps to build a working model of the press and explores how print democratised knowledge by making the written word accessible to all. Stephen Fry investigates the story of one of the most important machines ever invented – the Gutenberg Press