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.
It is the most legendary war in history. It begins with a beauty contest and ends with a giant horse unleashing destruction and annihilation. A tale so powerful it inspires 3,000 years of myth and legend. It is a story of armies divided, stolen treasure, an ancient world trade center, and a war without end. Now archaeologists, literary detectives and military analysts are uncovering evidence that the mythological city destroyed by beauty and vengeance, may be real. This is the true story of troy. For thousands of years fortune seekers and archaeologists have been searching these shores for evidence of the Trojan war and now some say they have found it. In turkey an international team is excavating what they believe to be the site of legendary Troy.
Declassified takes viewers inside vaults and archives around the world to reveal the untold stories of modern history. With the fall of the Iron Curtain and the advent of market economies worldwide, new footage and materials are flooding out of formerly secret organizations like East Germany’s Stasi, the Kremlin, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and state television in Korea. Declassified reveals the stories behind the previously unseen footage with modern graphics, editing, story telling, relentless, fast cut montage and a rock beat. Episode Tiananmen Square – It started out as China’s answer to Woodstock, but it ended like Kent State. Here, using unseen footage and declassified diplomatic sources, we present a previously shrouded story of the battles and deaths of hundreds of young Chinese students in June 1989, martyrs for democracy at Tiananmen Square, and the imprisonment of many others. Watch the birth and death of a movement, and learn how the demonstrators changed China forever.
This series, first aired in 2011, marks a decade of fighting in Afghanistan with a unique insight into the war told through films shot by the soldiers themselves. The BBC was given unprecedented access by the Ministry of Defence to thousands of hours of footage shot on helmet cameras and personal video cameras by soldiers. With the raw honesty of first person stories of life on the front line, the series offers a gripping and poignant insight into every side of the young soldiers’ experience, the average age is 21, from fear to boredom, grief to bravery, the camaraderie of the platoon and the return home. Episode 2 The Invisible Enemy – Follows the plight of the first troops sent to Helmand Province in 2006 and shows how, three years later, Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs had changed the war. A small platoon entered the town of Sangin in 2006 equipped to stay for a few days but ended up staying months, under heavy bombardment. As they struggle to survive, a supply drop off lands behind enemy lines by mistake. Later, in 2009, Captain Alex Rawlins films his men from 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards under threat from the increasing number of IEDs in Helmand Province. They lost of one their mates, 23 year old Guardsman Jamie Janes, who stood on a landmine during a patrol. The film shows how Jamie Janes’s death became a turning point in the British public’s awareness of the human cost of IEDs and how a misspelled letter turned into a political storm for the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
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.
Docudrama depicting the life and times of the most flamboyant and colourful Renaissance artist of all. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. The programme concentrated on the angelic reputation of this often misunderstood painter. The reality was that he was a freakishly precocious firebrand who was resented by most of his contemporaries, it was an every day story of lust, ambition and a romantically early death.
Dan Snow gets down and dirty in the murky histories of London, Paris and New York, exploring their filthy histories from the bottom up. Imagine having to dodge the contents of emptied bedpans or step over rotting corpses on the way to work. That was a reality of city life before technology, public policy, and public values began to focus on the effects of poor sanitation. In this immersive three part series, sophisticated computer animation and in depth scholarship bring history’s struggles with urban filth vividly to life. Episode 3 Industrial New York – Dan Snow travels back to a seething Manhattan in the throes of the industrial revolution. Dan succumbs to some of the deadly disease carrying parasites that thrived in the filthy, overcrowded tenement buildings. He has a go at cooking with some cutting edge 19th century ingredients, clothes dye and floor cleaner, added to disguise reeking fetid meat. And he marvels at some of the incredible feats of engineering that transformed not just the city, but the world.
Three part series that goes exploring the world’s oil producing regions, beyond the familiar territory of the Middle East. Unlike other documentaries that are full of gloomy predictions of perishable reserves of oil. Bill Cran’s series takes the view that there are ample supplies of oil, the problem is that most of it lies in the wrong places. Requiring the first world to deal with nasty governments or destroying the wilderness. But the relationship between oil companies, consumers and those who live where the oil is extracted is changing very rapidly. It is becoming possible for native populations to obstruct oil companies. The series concludes there are no easy answers. Episode 1 Rich and Poor – An exploration of how “black gold” has been the cause of much misery and destruction. Evidence from Angola and Ecuador suggests massive environmental damage has been done, while the people who live in oil rich countries are among the last to benefit. The programme also highlights how one of the biggest companies could be facing a 6 billion lawsuit that could radically change the face of the business.
Michael Wood travels through Syria and Iraq to uncover the story of Alexander the Great’s decisive battle against the might of the Persian Empire in 331 B.C.. Ancient writers agreed that it was fought somewhere near the city of Irbil in northern Iraq, but the exact location has never been discovered. Using dramatic new finds in the UK a cuneiform clay tablet in the British Museum and a papyrus dug up in Egypt Michael sheds new light on the course of events.