Ben MacIntyre brings to life his bestselling book Agent Zigzag, the gripping true story of Britain's most extraordinary wartime double agent, Eddie Chapman, he duped the Germans so successfully that he was awarded their highest decoration, the Iron Cross. He remains the only British citizen ever to win one. Including remarkable and newly discovered footage from an interview Chapman gave three years before his death in 1997, the programme goes on the trail of one of Britain's most unlikely heroes - a story of adventure, love, intrigue and astonishing courage.
Documentary looking at the relationship between Hitler and Himmler, and how the latter made secret approaches to the Allies as the Second World War in Europe drew to a close, a betrayal of the Nazi principle of absolute loyalty and obedience to the Fuehrer. Also looks at his failed attempts to use Jewish hostages to barter for money or equipment with the Allies, and at instances where other SS generals contradicted or refused to follow unnecessary suicidal military orders from Hitler. By the spring of 1945, Himmler had lost faith in German victory. He came to the realization that if the Nazi regime was to have any chance of survival, it would need to seek peace with Britain and the United States.
Chronicles the final days of Adolf Hitler's life and an account of how he died. Uses information gathered from the Soviet intelligence operation codenamed "Operation Myth" which describes how his body was found and identified after his suicide. Also, re-enactments of interrogations and responses of Germans by Soviet Intelligence taken from transcripts.
A Documentary, with dramatised elements, looking at the psychological profile of Adolf Hitler compiled by a team of Harvard psychologists in 1943. Interviewing former colleagues and the former family doctor who had fled to the USA and using Freudian techniques and theories of the day they came up with a profile and predicted how he would react to certain situations, concluding that he would not surrender and would be most likely to commit suicide when faced with defeat. This led to future profiling of many world leaders and dictators.
Insight into the Battle of Alesia, the climax of Julius Caesar's eight-year campaign to conquer Gaul and subdue its hostile natives. In one of the greatest sieges of ancient times he managed to rout the army of Vercingetorix, who had succeeded in uniting the Celtic tribes against the Roman invaders, and secured a victory which would shape the future of the Western world. Julius Caesar's Greatest Battle is told through the eyes of Mark Corby a Roman historian with a professional admiration for Caesar and Neil Faulkner an archaeologist for whom Rome's great achievement was no more than robbery with violence. Mark takes on the role of Caesar and Neil that of Vercingetorix in this gripping documentary.
Murder in Rome, a re-enactment of the one of the most significant murder trials in history. Directed by Dave Stewart, and based on a genuine trial record, it's set in Rome in 81BC. Sextus Roscius is accused of murdering his father, and found guilty he'll face an agonising death. However, the stakes are just as high for Cicero, the lawyer defending him. If he wins the case, he could be killed. Inside the biggest and best courtroom in history. Roman trials were the ultimate in ancient entertainment. This is a gripping dramatisation of the best of them.
On the night of October 1, 1950, five high ranking Soviet Communist Party officials who led the city of Leningrad through its tragic wartime siege, were marched out into the cold night and executed. The death of the leaders under Stalin's direct orders, was part of a witchhunt that started three years after the war ended and became known as the Leningrad Affair. Based on a series of bizarre allegations, Stalin executed not only the city's senior party leaders but purged the whole city from the top down.
In 1946 almost half a million German prisoners of war were still being held in Britain. Interviews, archive footage and photographs shed light on the experiences of the people of Oswaldtwistle, who were banned from fraternising with the enemy until 1946, a Lancashire town that offered the hand of friendship to the prisoners of war located near the town. The documentary is based largely on the book Enemies Become Friends by Pamela Howe Taylor.
Dr Saul David investigates the violent world of the medieval melee tournament. Forget the images of chivalric knights, well-dressed damsels and dropped handkerchiefs associated with the joust. The melee tournament was a brutal free-for-all with sharpened weapons, few rules and one undisputed champion, William Marshal. His story reveals a very different kind of tournament, one in which brute force ruled, handkerchiefs stayed in pockets and where money was more important than manners.
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.
One August morning in 1826, two men went for a walk in the Scottish countryside, in a field just outside Kirkcaldy in southern Fife. Only one of them came back alive. Timewatch tells the story of two men who fought to the death with pistols, one a respected merchant, David Landale, a linen merchant and pillar of the community. The other was George Morgan, a soldier turned banker with a fiery temper, steeped in military tradition. The soldier also happened to be the merchant's bank manager. It would end with the death of one man and mark the demise of a 600 year old ritual.
It is unique in the Roman World. A spectacular and complex stone barrier measuring 74 miles long, and up to 15 feet high and 10 feet thick. For 300 years Hadrian's Wall stood as the Roman Empire's most imposing frontier and one of the unsung wonders of the ancient world. Almost 2,000 years after it was built, Hadrian's Wall is proving to be a magical time capsule - a window into the human past. Archaeologists have properly excavated less than 1per cent of it, but they have unearthed extraordinary findings. With presenter Julian Richards Timewatch journeys back through time to unlock the secrets of a lost world.
Chronicling the exploits of former German Panzer driver Henry Metelmann, who was conscripted to fight for the Fatherland in World War Two. Transformed from idealistic Hitler Youth to battle-hardened soldier, he was responsible for the deaths of surrendering fighters and innocent civilians, only surviving the Russian Front through a combination of luck and cowardice. He tells his story in flashbacks from his home in Britain as an old man. A matter of fact account of his youth before the war and his trials during his time as a soldier.
Documentary about the final hours of Stalin's life, why was he denied medical attention, was he poisoned? Was it one of his inner circle of cronies and henchmen, also reconstructions of that days events and interviews with Stalin's living relatives and the children of his inner circle. This is a real who done it.
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 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. 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.