Ancient Monster Hunters

The Greek myths are filled with magical tales of transformation and legions of gods and heroes. But perhaps the most compelling stories are those of creatures like the one eyed cyclops and the ferocious half-lion, half-eagle known as the griffin. Ancient Monster Hunters follows a group of paleontologists as they explore newly translated evidence and examine remains that just may have inspired tales of these legendary monsters.

Who Killed the Maya?

How could a civilization which thrived for over two thousand years just suddenly disappear? Today many believe that a giant drought killed off the Maya, but is this really the case? World Maya Expert, Nikolai Grube began by looking at the Maya’s own historical records their fantastic hieroglyphic writing. Hidden within them he found two extraordinary figures: Dark Bat King and a Cold Killer Queen. Never before has the story of these remarkable individuals been brought to life. By resurrecting their spirit, Grube has come to the groundbreaking theory that the Maya collapse cannot be blamed on natural forces, but on the violent world of human politics and power struggles.

Terry Jones' Barbarians The Primitive Celts

Monty Python’s Terry Jones invites you on an entertaining expedition through Roman history from an entirely different perspective – that of the Barbarians. Far from the uncivilized savages they have been believed to be, many of these non-Romans were not barbaric at all. They were, in fact, highly organized and intelligent societies that had no intentions of overthrowing Rome or its Empire. The Primitive Celts – The popular view of Celtic society is that it was primitive and uncivilized. Terry Jones sets out to challenge this view. Far from being primitive compared to Rome, it was an advanced society that was in some ways even more advanced than Rome. For example, many of the roads in Gaul that were assumed to have been built by the Romans, turn out to have been built by the Celts themselves.

Hitler’s Family In the Shadow of the Dictator

Adolf Hitler consistently hushed up or denied his family lineage for fear that his ragtag bunch of ancestors and living relatives could tarnish his reputation or expose his imperfect Aryan background. His family had a history of psychiatric disorders, and his second cousin, Aloisia Veit, was locked up in an asylum for nine years before being sent to the gas chambers for being “unworthy of life”. Hitler was embarrassed by his sister Paula, and made her live under the assumed name of Paula Wolf.

Carthage The Roman Holocaust Episode 1

Cambridge historian Dr Richard Miles traces one of history’s darkest and most compelling stories, the superpower rivalry between Carthage and Rome that radically transformed the ancient world. For the victor, the prize was unchallenged imperial domination, for the loser, it was obliteration. Richard Miles, reveals the truth about the Carthaginians, the remarkable and forgotten people. In 146 BC Roman General Scipio Destroyed the city of Carthage so painstakingly and utterly that not a single building was left standing. A new archaeological dig by Dr. Richard Miles of Cambridge University, penetrates the burned layer of the Roman holocaust and uncovers fresh evidence.

The War of the World Episode 1 The Clash of Empires

Controversial historian Professor Niall Ferguson argues that in the last century there were not in fact two World Wars and a Cold War, but a single Hundred Years’ War. It was not nationalism that powered the conflicts of the century, but empires. It was not ideologies of class or the advent of socialism driving the century, but race. Ultimately, ethnic conflict underpinned 20th century violence. Finally, it was not the west that triumphed as the century progressed, in fact, power slowly and steadily migrated towards the new empires of the East. Episode 1 The Clash of Empires – An alternative perspective to the events of the 20th century, offering different explanations for the two world wars and the shifting balance of power as the 1900s progressed. He begins by studying the origins of World War One, arguing that the conflict sparked racial hatred which was exploited by nation states for their own ends.

The Killer Wave of 1607

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.

Nazi Underworld Patient Hitler

Adolf Hitler dreampt of creating a master race but the Fuhrer himself was an appalling hypochondriac who abused laxatives and suffered for much of his life from stomach cramps and embarrassing flatulence. And that was simply the start. By the time he committed suicide in 1945, the “great” dictator was frail with tremors and a shuffling walk, a feeble condition that was kept secret from the world. The doctor whose job it was to maintain the Fuhrer in vigorous and energetic health to pursue the Nazi project and its military ambitions was Dr. Theodore Morell.

Armistice

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.

Terry Jones' Barbarians The Savage Goths

Monty Python’s Terry Jones invites you on an entertaining expedition through Roman history from an entirely different perspective – that of the Barbarians. Far from the uncivilized savages they have been believed to be, many of these non-Romans were not barbaric at all. They were, in fact, highly organized and intelligent societies that had no intentions of overthrowing Rome or its Empire.

Hitler’s Secret Science

In the crucible of World War II, Germany’s most brilliant scientists must race to create an arsenal of terrifying new weapons of mass destruction, even an atomic bomb. Before the war is over, Germany will produce a series of technological firsts that remain the basis for many modern day air and spacecraft, from a stealth-like trans-Atlantic bomber, to the world’s first cruise missile. Now, seventy years later, secret Nazi files reveal the classified blueprints for these, and many other, devastating “Wonder Weapons”. This documentary reveals the circumstances scientists faced under Hitler’s National Socialist party, and tracks amazing technological innovations from the beginning of the Third Reich through the modern postwar period. It highlights major scientific disciplines and designs, and the inventions of Wernher von Braun, Alexander Lippisch, Irene Bredt, Viktor Schauberger and Werner Heisenberg, among others.

Carthage The Roman Holocaust Episode 2

Cambridge historian Dr Richard Miles traces one of history’s darkest and most compelling stories, the superpower rivalry between Carthage and Rome that radically transformed the ancient world. For the victor, the prize was unchallenged imperial domination, for the loser, it was obliteration. Richard Miles, reveals the truth about the Carthaginians, the remarkable and forgotten people. In 146 BC Roman General Scipio Destroyed the city of Carthage so painstakingly and utterly that not a single building was left standing. A new archaeological dig by Dr. Richard Miles of Cambridge University, penetrates the burned layer of the Roman holocaust and uncovers fresh evidence.

The War of the World Episode 2 The Plan

Controversial historian Professor Niall Ferguson argues that in the last century there were not in fact two World Wars and a Cold War, but a single Hundred Years’ War. It was not nationalism that powered the conflicts of the century, but empires. It was not ideologies of class or the advent of socialism driving the century, but race. Ultimately, ethnic conflict underpinned 20th century violence. Finally, it was not the west that triumphed as the century progressed, in fact, power slowly and steadily migrated towards the new empires of the East. Episode 2 The Plan – How the US became the envy of the world in the aftermath of World War One, a state of affairs that was shattered by the Wall Street crash. He also considers the effect of the Great Depression on people’s attitudes to capitalism and democracy, and how it led to the rise of totalitarian states.

The Lost Pyramids of Caral

The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru hit the headlines in 2001. The site is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilization in the Americas and, at 2,627 B.C., is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology – a “mother city”. If so, then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology why did humans become civilised?

Revealed Great Falklands Gamble

On April 2nd 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic, 8,000 miles from the UK. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to send a naval taskforce to liberate the islands. In this programme, senior officers who served in the campaign, among them Major-General Julian Thompson, reveal how appalling weather, overstretched British air defences, poor communications and even incompetence sometimes stacked the odds heavily against the British. Veterans of some of the bloodiest battles talk us through the fighting. Their personal accounts reveal how professionalism and sheer courage overcame these problems. By explaining the hair raising realities of individual battles, this programme sheds new light on a decisive and historic British victory.

Atlantis Reborn Again

Horizon puts Graham Hancock’s controversial theories about the past to the test, dissecting his evidence for a lost civilization. Although scientists believe they have categorically disproved the myth of Atlantis, the idea is more popular now than ever before. Graham Hancock offers various pieces of evidence to support his theory. He claims that the mysterious lost civilization left its mark in ancient monuments, which he calculates were built to mirror certain constellations of stars. Horizon journeys across the world to examine Hancock’s evidence for a lost civilization and puts his theory to the test. In a film full of contentious debate and powerful arguments, Graham Hancock’s claims are pitted against cutting edge scientific analysis to discover whether his popular theory could be true.

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives Episode 1 The Peasant

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.

Laughing With Hitler

Documentary which examines the history of the Third Reich through the jokes told by and about the Nazis and the fate that befell some of the joke tellers. At first this was tolerated and even encouraged – but as the war drew on jokes became a channel for subversive information and dissent, and by the end laughter out of turn was cracked down upon severely. Satire and jokes at Hitler’s expense were encouraged to some degree as he came into power but gradually anything deemed “subversive” was squeezed out and telling such jokes gradually became more and more dangerous. As the war started to turn back against German cities and civilians, where understandably there was a certain amount of gallows humour. Cabaret artiste, Werner Finck, was imprisoned in a concentration camp, but then released, while actor Fritz Muliar’s anti-Hitler jokes landed him in a penal battalion in Russia. Throughout the film the jokes are recreated by two German comedians. A bizarre but compelling examination of humour in the Third Reich. Director/Narrator: Rudolph Herzog (Son of Werner Herzog, documentary film maker). Also known as: Satirizontas to Hitler.

Conquistadors Episode 1 The Fall of the Aztecs

The Spanish conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century was one of the most cataclysmic events in history. Spanish expeditions had to endure the most unbelievable hardships to open up the lands of the New World. Few stories, if any, in history match these for sheer drama, endurance and distance covered. Michael Woods travels in the footsteps of the Spanish adventures. The Fall of the Aztecs – Hernan Cortes left Cuba in 1519 seeking riches in the island to the west. Instead he discovered, and ultimately destroyed, a hitherto unknown civilization. Spanish eyewitness accounts that describe the conquistadors’ awe at the Aztec achievements and the lust for native treasure. Learn the Aztec side through pictographs that tell of the agonizing fall of the empire.

The War of the World Episode 3 Killing Space

Controversial historian Professor Niall Ferguson argues that in the last century there were not in fact two World Wars and a Cold War, but a single Hundred Years’ War. It was not nationalism that powered the conflicts of the century, but empires. It was not ideologies of class or the advent of socialism driving the century, but race. Ultimately, ethnic conflict underpinned 20th century violence. Finally, it was not the west that triumphed as the century progressed, in fact, power slowly and steadily migrated towards the new empires of the East. Episode 3 Killing Space – How the rise of the Axis powers led to a fundamental redrawing of the world map. He pinpoints 1942 as a pivotal year, and considers how the 20th century might have unfolded had World War Two ended differently, with totalitarian regimes dividing the globe between them.

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 Device, a 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.

Revealed Hitler’s Private World

When Adolf Hitler bought Eva Braun a movie camera, to film the people and parties which occurred at their expansive and heavily guarded Bavarian retreat, the technology to include synchronized sound had not yet been developed. So when soldiers discovered Hitler’s private home movies, in the Berlin bunker where the Nazi leader took his own life, the tantalizing clips they unearthed, featuring leading members of the SS in a more relaxed mode, remained silent for over 60 years. Now, leading edge lip reading software has enabled German experts to re-voice these films and provide us with a chilling insight into Hitlers private world.

Auschwitz The Forgotten Evidence

When an Allied photo reconnaissance plane flew over southern Poland in the summer of 1944, it took horrifying images of the Nazi’s most evil extermination camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers and the crematoria in which 12,000 people were being murdered daily are clearly visible. But the photos were not analyzed at the time, simply filed away. Using these photos as a unique starting point, we take a new look at the Holocaust and ask what the Allies knew about the extermination camp and when they found out.

500 Nations Episode 1 Wounded Knee Legacy & The Ancestors

In September 2004, on the last remaining site on the Mall in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Museum of the American Indian, inaugurating a new era in the education of all people about Native America. In conjunction with this event, and in response to popular demand 500 nations was broadcast on the Discovery Channel. Episode 1 Wounded Knee Legacy & The Ancestors – Explore three early North American cultures. Tour the 800 room Pueblo Bonito in the arid southwest, view the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, and visit Cahokia, the largest city in the U.S. before 1800.