In 1957, Britain exploded its first megaton hydrogen bomb - codenamed Operation Grapple X. It was the culmination of an extraordinary scientific project, which against almost insuperable odds turned Britain into a nuclear superpower. Featuring access to the top-secret nuclear research facility at Aldermaston, the programme features interviews with veterans and scientists who took part in the atomic bomb programme, some speaking for the first time, and newly released footage of the British atomic bomb tests.
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 2: Age of Empire) Andrew Marr tells the story of the first empires which laid the foundations for the modern world. From the Assyrians to Alexander the Great, conquerors rampaged across the Middle East and vicious wars were fought all the way from China to the Mediterranean. But this time of chaos and destruction also brought enormous progress and inspired human development. In the Middle East, the Phoenicians invented the alphabet, and one of the most powerful ideas in world history emerged: the belief in just one God. In India, the Buddha offered a radical alternative to empire building - a way of living that had no place for violence or hierarchy and was open to everyone. Great thinkers from Socrates to Confucius proposed new ideas about how to rule more wisely and live in a better society. And in Greece, democracy was born - the greatest political experiment of all. But within just a few years, its future would be under threat from invasion by an empire in the east...
The film chronicles the story of how the Nazis and the IOC turned, to their mutual benefit, a small sports event into the modern Olympics. The grand themes and controversial issues from the 1936 Games have continued to this day: Monumentality, budget overruns, collusion with authoritarian regimes, corruption and sometimes even bribery. Featuring never before seen archival footage and new research, The Nazi Games reveals how the Olympics as we have come to know them were shaped by the collaboration of interests between Hitler and ambitious Olympic gentlemen. After initial distrust, both the IOC and the Nazis found common ground in turning the 1936 Games into the biggest Olympic show the world has ever seen.
2016 • History
Up to one million gladiators are thought to have died in arenas across the Roman Empire. Seventy-five were recently found in a single cemetery in York. Two thousand years ago, York was a Roman stronghold, a staging ground for the push against the Scots. Apart from ancient Italy, Roman Britain had the highest density of gladiatorial arenas in Europe. As part of a routine building inspection in the outskirts of York, archaeologists discover an ancient Roman burial site. It soon became apparent the find was anything but routine. Of total 80, 75 of the skeletons were men, a much higher majority than would be expected in a family grave site. The height, build and signs of musculature made the men much bigger than that of the average Roman man. A closer inspection of the bones also revealed a number of cut marks and fractures, evidence the men were no strangers to violence. Most disturbing of all most of the men had been brutally decapitated. Could the men be gladiators?
2010 • History
Hendrik Poinar is a bit of a mystery man – as in, he likes to solve them. And he’s part time traveller – as in, he likes to dig up the past. Think Doctor Who meets Indiana Jones. Poinar is an evolutionary biologist - which means he studies the nature of how we humans got here and where we’re going. He happily admits his childhood dream was to travel the world and travel back in time. “No-one imagines that there’s actually something still hidden within a bone that’s been buried for a few thousand years or 100,000 years, let alone the possibility of resurrecting it or bringing it back to life,” says Poinar. “I mean, that’s sort of completely bizarre. It’s like a time machine, yeah, it’s a kid’s dream.” Secrets in the Bones follows Poinar on an epic journey to Italy, Germany, Britain, and across the Unites States. His mission: solve one of the greatest mysteries of science, a mystery that has eluded researchers for more than six centuries: unlock the secrets of the fourteenth century killer disease that caused the Black Death and wiped out more than 50 million people.
Deep in the Bolivian Andes at the height of 13,000ft stands Tiwanaku, the awe-inspiring ruins of a monolithic temple city. Built by a civilisation who dominated a vast swathe of South America, it was abandoned 1,000 years ago. For centuries it has been a mystery - how did a civilisation flourish at such an altitude and why did it vanish? Jago Cooper journeys through Bolivia's spectacular landscape to investigate the origins of Tiwanaku and finds evidence of an ancient people with amazing understanding of their environment, whose religion was based on collective effort and ritual beer drinking.