Picture the last two hundred years without the publication of Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" -- how might the scientific conversation have developed? What were the influences in Victorian England during Darwin's youth, and how tenuous was his opportunity for sailing on the Beagle's voyage?
2016 • Nature
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 5: Age of Plunder) Andrew Marr tells the story of Europe's rise from piracy to private enterprise. The explosion of global capitalism began with Christopher Columbus stumbling across America while searching for China. While Europe tore itself apart in religious wars after the Reformation, the Spanish colonised the New World and brought back 10 trillion dollars' worth of gold and silver. But it was Dutch and English buccaneer businessmen who invented the real money-maker: limited companies and the stock exchange. They battled hand-to-hand to control the world's sea trade in spices, furs and luxuries like tulips. In the 145 years from 1492 to 1637, European capitalism was born and spread across the globe.
The final programme in the series looks at Romania, where Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu ran a personal dictatorship for nearly a quarter of a century. Abortion and contraception were banned as their rule reached far into the private lives of every Romanian. When communism collapsed and the regime was overthrown, the self-styled 'mother and father of the nation' were executed by a firing squad on December 25 1989.
In the opening episode of the series, Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill takes us on a journey across stunning locations in Greece and Italy to find out how Athens gave birth to the idea of a city run by free citizens 2,500 years ago. Every aspect of daily life from defence to waste disposal was controlled not by a king, but by the Athenians themselves. Ultimately, this radical new system would define a way of life and the Athenians would give it a name.