Catherine the Great is a colorful, true story about a young girl, who transforms herself from an obscure German Princess into Russia’s most powerful regent. As Tsarina, she is influenced by Western Democratic ideas and does much to strengthen Russia’s standing in Europe. She has an astute intellect and is able to survive court intrigue to retain her crown. Filmed in UK, Russia & Romania this glossy drama-doc tells how a young German princess used her intelligence and daring to become one of the most influential rulers of the 18th century.
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.
Who Do You Think You Are? is a British genealogy documentary series. In each episode, a celebrity traces their family tree. Alan Cumming was determined to learn more about his maternal grandfather, Tom Darling. His mother had a number of mementoes from her father’s military career, including a bravery medal, and believed he died in an accident in Malaya (now called Malaysia). In finding the truth, Alan uncovered a story of courage, heartbreak and raw emotion. The actor met a historian in Edinburgh to learn more about Tom’s first years in the Army. He discovered he served as a motorbike despatch rider during World War II, carrying messages between different units in northern France.
This documentary takes a light hearted look at the relationship between Australia and Britain. Australia everyone agrees it’s reather stunning, but Australias have always held a rather negative view of the British, people they refer to as Poms. “The stereotype of the Pom is uptight, pin striped underpants, pretentious, condescending, smug and hypocritical” Ouch! In their earthly paradise the Austrlians thrived in opposition to the British but the British were always on their minds, they are raised on British stories and characters like Biggles. The British have alwasy been drawn to the promise of vast Australia to escape the confines of class. So it’s all a bit complicated and a bit love and hate this relationship between Australia and Britain. Contributors include Clive James, Germaine Greer, Shane Warne, Kathy Lette, Thomas Keneally and former Prime Minister Paul Keating.
Technology journalist John Heileman presents the story of the Internet revolution and its cultural, commercial, and social impact to our lives. In fighting. Backstabbing. An epic battle with billions of dollars at stake. Witness the backroom clashes that sparked a cultural and commercial revolution in Download The True Story of the Internet. From the founders of eBay, Yahoo, Amazon, Netscape, Goggle and other powerbrokers, experience amazing stories of how the Internet took control of our lives in 10 short years. These pioneers tell how they went from geeky nerds to 21st century visionaries in the time it takes most people to get their first promotion.
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 6 The Line – By the middle of the 19th century, the benefits brought by the host of advances of the industrial age were gradually beginning to reach America, which soon developed a spectacular achievement of its own, the Transcontinental Railway, reaching right across the continent. With two teams, one building from the east and the other from California in the west, they battled against hostile terrain, hostile inhabitants, civil war and the Wild West. Yet in 1869, the two teams’ tracks were joined, shrinking the whole American continent, as the journey from New York to San Francisco was reduced from months to days.
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. Episode 11 The Island War – America is now starting to use a new tactic of island hopping resulting in the slow crumbling of the Japanese air force and navy. American dominance at sea was finally established in “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”, when radar gave the US Navy advance warning. This film also looks at the war in the jungles, in places like Burma, where new specialist fighting units, like Orde Wingate’s Chindits, slowly pushed back the Japanese despite horrific conditions.
This History Channel special was a challenge to cover the 600 year span between the fall of the Roman Empire and the First Crusade. While many had to endure plagues, famine, and bloodshed, it was not all darkness, the period was also punctuated by great minds pushing frontiers in the arts and technology.
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 8 The British Wars – A chronicle of the English Civil War, revealing that behind the romantic stories of Cavaliers and Roundheads lies a terrible tale of tragedy and the death of innocents.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. History’s Turning Points provides a fascinating and intriguing new perspective on the significant moments that have changed the world. The Russian Revolution – 1917 A.D. Both Lenin and Kerensky were driven to overthrow the Czar. From similar backgrounds, they were both fervent revolutionaries. Lenin wanted the rich to be poor, Kerensky wanted the poor to be rich. Lenin, a charismatic workaholic, won because he would not compromise.
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.
This documentary tells the enthralling and emotional story of Andrew Wiles. A quiet English mathematician, he was drawn into maths by Fermat’s puzzle, but at Cambridge in the 1970s, it was considered a joke, so he set it aside. Then, in 1986, an extraordinary idea linked this irritating problem with one of the most profound ideas of modern mathematics the Taniyama Shimura Conjecture. When he heard, Wiles went after his childhood dream again. In June 1993 he reached his goal. At a three day lecture at Cambridge, he outlined a proof of Taniyama, and with it Fermat’s Last Theorem. Then disaster struck. His colleague, Dr Nick Katz, made a tiny request for clarification. It turned into a gaping hole in the proof. As Andrew struggled to repair the damage, pressure mounted for him to release the manuscript, to give up his dream.
What is known about the trial and execution of Jesus? Despite the familiar gospel stories of the new testament, much of the historical account remains a mystery. What most historians can agree on is this: around the year 30 of the first century, a Jewish man named Jesus, leaves his home in the Galilea and does something in the Jewish temple that causes him to be arrested. Then the occupying Roman authorities execute him by crucifixion. Beyond that crucial facts remain unclear. Why is he arrested? What charges are brought against him and by whom, and why is he given the cruelest of punishments, death by crucifixion? Eminent scholars sift through Roman, Jewish and early Christian documents searching for answers.
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 3 Hades – Hades is the lord of the underworld and the keeper of dead souls. This episode tells how Hades came to this position, why he was so feared, and what the Greeks thought awaited them after death.
Natural World is BBC Two’s classic wildlife series which tells in depth stories of incredible animals, featuring award winning photography in some of the most extraordinary places in the world. Episode Web of Intrigue – A close up look at the world of spiders, including the trapdoor spider, and the red-back spider.
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. Episode 1 The Gathering Storm – Just years after World War I, Germany and other nations are in an economic depression. The series starts with that great paradox. How could the settlement at the end of World War One, the “war to end all wars”, lead to an even greater conflict just a few years later? The answer is a tale with terrible resonance today. This film shows how the Great Depression sapped the will of the democracies of the West to face up to a new and disturbing political phenomenon, the rise of militaristic dictators, in Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain. The result was that the major powers ignored all the warning signs and allowed the likes of Mussolini and above all Hitler to begin the course that would lead the world into catastrophe. This episode ends as Hitler plots his attack upon Poland.
For the last 20 years, Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez, an independent astronomer and ethnologist, has lead a rigorous investigation to prove her theory. According to her studies, hunter gatherers spent long nights observing the sky, calculating, and recording their discoveries either on the walls of caves or on animal bones. In this film, she shares her stunning conclusions, Prehistoric men chose their caves according to the orientation of the sun, created measuring tools such as a lunar calendar, and their wall paintings were the first maps of the sky and stars. Today, these fascinating discoveries are gradually gaining respect in the international science community.
In 1570 BC, Rome was no more than a soggy marsh and the Acropolis was just an empty rock, but Egypt was already 1,000 years old, awaiting its New Kingdom, an empire forged by conquest and remembered for eons. The sophisticated, civilized society that we call the New Kingdom was led by a remarkable succession of kings. Between them, they liberated their country, conquered their neighbors and built. Episode 3 The Last Great Pharaoh – The reign of Ramesses II , known as Ramesses the Great, marked the high point of the New Kingdom and the high point of Egyptian culture. But like any highpoint, it was all downhill as the New Kingdom gradually fell into ruin.
The A303 is the road that passes Stonehenge on the way to the beaches of Devon and Cornwall. On the way, it whisks drivers through 5,000 years of remarkable moments in British history. And it is the star of this film made for armchair travelers and history lovers. Writer Tom Fort drives its 92 mile length in a lovingly restored Morris Traveller. Along the way he has many adventures, he digs up the 1960s master plan for the A303’s dreams of superhighway status, meets up with a Neolithic traveler who knew the road like the back of his hand, gets to know a section of the Roman 303, uncovers a medieval murder mystery, and discovers what lies at the end of the Highway to the Sun.
North Koreans flee to China, forced to live in miserable conditions and are vulnerable to being sent back to hard labour camps, some commit suicide, others are easy targets. Reporter Oliver Steeds reports on the plight of thousands of North Korean women who have been forced into prostitution or sold as brides after fleeing persecution and starvation in one of the world’s most secretive and repressive regimes.
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 9 Revolutions – The dramatic story of the political and religious upheavals in Britain following the death of Charles I. Republican leader Oliver Cromwell envisaged a godly kingdom, while Charles II restored the lustre of the monarchy.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. History’s Turning Points provides a fascinating and intriguing new perspective on the significant moments that have changed the world. The Rise of the Mob – In 1920 the American government cracks down on drinking and bans the sale and consumption of alcohol. But instead of making America a better place, prohibition funds the creation of an even greater evil – the Mafia. Chicago becomes a city torn by rival gangs led by the notorious Al Capone and his arch enemy Bugs Moran. On St. Valentine’s Day Al Capone’s men massacre members of Moran’s gang in a blood bath at a disused garage.
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 2009, four 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.
In December 1938, in Berlin, a simple chemical experiment showed for the first time that the atom can be split, releasing immense power. Within months, the Wehrmacht had started research into nuclear weapons. The Germans were the first to start work on the atom bomb. The programme investigates the reasons why Hitler was not the first leader to use it, drawing on new evidence gathered by historian Mark Walker. Dramatised scenes, eyewitness accounts from Allied and German scientists, interviews and archive footage are all employed.