Long before Columbus, the Maya established one of the most highly developed civilizations of their time in the jungles of Mexico and Central America. Yet this advanced society of priests, astronomers, artisans, and farmers suddenly and mysteriously collapsed more than a thousand years ago. Accompany archeologists to Copan, Dos Pilas, and other spectacular Classic Maya ruins as they unearth artifacts and huge temples of incredible beauty. Recently deciphered hieroglyphics and other new discoveries offer astounding clues to the lives of these ancient people.
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.
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.
A Panorama Special investigates the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal and asks what the BBC knew in the past, and examines the events around the dropping of the Corporation's own Newsnight investigation into the subject. An investigation into how Sir Jimmy Savile OBE was able to abuse children unhindered for many years, and how many people within the British Broadcasting Company knew anything about it.
Trace the rise and fall of one of the most famous Mafia "families," and get up close with crime legends Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano and John Gotti. For much of the century, they were the most powerful force in American organized crime. But internal strife and the tireless work of law enforcement have brought this once dominant organization to its knees. The Gambino crime family ruled New York's streets for years. Today, there are only 200 members left of a force that used to number a thousand. This documentary journeys into the dark side of American history for this eye opening look at the Gambinos.
Spirituality is big business in Kerala, fueled by the planeloads of tourists who come to India's south western coast in search of enlightenment. In this documentary, Jenny looks into the activities of Kerala's "godmen" gurus who claim to be living gods, and asks whether they are exploiting their power over their vulnerable devotees.
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.
Actor and writer Rupert Everett takes a revealing and witty journey, retracing the steps of one of his great heroes the infamous author, Victorian explorer and sexual adventurer, Sir Richard Burton. Labelled "Dirty Dick", in part for his translations of the Kama Sutra and The Arabian Nights, to others Burton was a pioneer, bringing new cultural ideas of sex and religion from the East to the West.
On July 14, 1789, only a few years after France helped colonists in America win their freedom from Great Britain, a band of Parisian rebels staged an attack on the Bastille, looting needed supplies of food and materiel after the increasingly callous French authorities ignored their pleas. A decade of idealism, war, murder, and carnage followed, bringing about the end of feudalism and the rise of equality and a new world order. With dramatic reenactments, illustrations, and paintings from the era, plus revealing accounts from journals and expert commentary from historians, The French Revolution vividly unfurls in a maelstrom of violence, discontent, and fundamental change. Narrated by Edward Herrmann.
Tony Robinson embarks on spectacular walks through some of Britain's most historic landscapes in search of the richest stories from it's past. Episode 1 Stonehenge - Tony embarks on another expedition through some of Britain's most historic landscapes. He begins with a 45 mile walk across Wiltshire, from Avebury to Stonehenge, telling the story of the remarkable development that occurred in the latter days of the Neolithic era. His route over chalk downlands and Salisbury Plain takes him through one of the greatest concentrations of prehistoric sites in Europe.
Tony Robinson embarks on spectacular walks through some of Britain's most historic landscapes in search of the richest stories from it's past. Episode 3 Cornwall - Tony takes a four day trek along the coastline between Plymouth in Devon and Falmouth, learning about the thriving smuggling trade in Cornwall during the late 18th century. The area's tiny secretive harbours, beaches and secluded coves were ideal for illicit imports such as tobacco and brandy, and the business was so huge it threatened the national economy. Along his route, visiting such beauty spots as Lantic Bay and Polperro, he encounters all sorts of reminders of the trade and meets descendants of those involved.
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.
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.
The story of Frankenstein has haunted us for almost 200 years a monster brought to life by a mad scientist in his secret laboratory. But is Mary Shelley's book pure fiction after all? This programme uncovers facts and sheds light on a dark world of bizarre scientific experiments intended to unlock the secret of life.
Documentary examining the medieval myth of the Philosopher's Stone, a Holy Grail-type relic which supposedly held the key to alchemy and immortality. Many noted alchemists and adventurers searched obsessively for the artifact hoping to learn its powerful secrets, a quest which allegedly drove some to madness and others to celestial encounters. Today, the quest for the Philosopher's Stone is merely thought of as a work of fiction from the pages of a Harry Potter novel. However, in the Middle Ages, the very real search for the Philosopher's Stone was second only to that of the Holy Grail. This fascinating documentary unearths the astonishing events surrounding this legendary stone, and the alchemists and adventurers who stopped at nothing in their search for this tantalising quarry.
And you thought it was all in the movies. The strangest things are based on truth. Gladiator - The oscar winning film Gladiator is the story of a hero Russell Crowe's Maximus, the general who became a slave who became a gladiator. He is the perfect fighting machine and he destroys the most powerful man on earth the emperor of Rome. The historical truth is even more surprising Like Maximus the gladiators of Rome really fought in giant arenas for the pleasure of the crowd. New experiments may show if even the way they fought is truly what we see in the movies. The emperor Commodus was even crazier than Maximus' enemy in the Hollywood version. New archaeology could reveal the secrets of how Commodus lived, how he committed his crimes and maybe even where he died. Just like the story of Russel Crowe's Maximus this is a tale of blood death sex and violence. This is the real story of gladiator.
Jurassic Park tells the story of billionaire John Hammond creating a theme park where the main attractions are dinosaurs. He invites Alan Grant, an eminent palaeontologist, and other scientists to the island to share his vision. They are in awe of what he has achieved, but things go wrong when there is a security breach and the dinosaurs escape. The visitors become the hunted as the dinosaurs pick off the visitors one by one. Finally, the remaining four survivors make a desperate escape from the island via helicopter. This documentary reveals the science behind Jurassic Park is based on rigorous scientific research and that the key character at the centre of the film is inspired by a real life individual. The vision of how dinosaurs could be bought back to life has now been shown to be impossible. But this documentary will feature recent remarkable breakthroughs in biology that would allow dinosaurs to walk again. Using cutting edge evolutionary biology, scientists are getting closer to bringing the dinosaur back to life. With extensive location filming, expert interviews, forensic science and drama recon we bring the real story of Jurassic Park to life.
The untold story of the Norman Conquest, 1066 sheds new light on one of British history's darkest events, not through the eyes of Kings and Conquerors but from behind the shield wall, through the eyes of the ordinary villagers caught up in the chaos. Episode 1 - Crowhurst newlywed Tofi and his farmer friend Leofric are torn from their Sussex homes by the English warrior Ordgar and summoned to defend the English coast from invasion. But while the army of King Harold waits in the south, fierce Vikings set sail from the fjords of the north.
The untold story of the Norman Conquest, 1066 sheds new light on one of British history's darkest events, not through the eyes of Kings and Conquerors but from behind the shield wall, through the eyes of the ordinary villagers caught up in the chaos. Epsiode 2 - Tofi, Leofric and Ordgar are reinforced by the Viking warrior Snorri as they race south to save Crowhurst and defend England from the Norman invasion. We meet the Normans - an alien army of men loyal to the ruthless Duke William. Among them, the ruthless Ozouf struggles to command the loyalty of the aristocratic and gentler Coutances. Just outside London, the English fellowship divides. Ordgar and Snorri stay with the dwindling army of King Harold, while Tofi and Leofric set off to rescue the women of Crowhurst.
Documentary series telling the history of the Great War, in which nine million people perished. Episode 2 Stalemate - Documentary series telling the history of the Great War through the words of those who lived through the conflict. As the war began, experts thought that technical advances in weaponry would bring about a quick victory, but the reality was different as armies resorted to trench warfare on the Western Front.