The evacuation of allied troops from the beaches at Dunkirk was rightly celebrated as a great moment in British history. What very few people know, though, is that after Dunkirk tens of thousands of British troops were left in France, fighting for their lives. After the rest of the British army had gone home, the 51st Highland Division were ordered to fight on against the might of Adolf Hitler's war machine. Now, almost 80 years later, the only remaining survivors of that Division tell their extraordinary story for the first time - and probably the last. Using recently declassified secret documents, the full details of their fight for survival and why they were left to fight on in France can now be revealed. It's the story of a desperate battle in the face of overwhelming odds, a remarkable, courageous last stand and the doomed maverick rescue mission launched to save the men of the 51st.
In this episode, Ella Al-Shamahi explores the fate of the Neanderthals - asking why they became extinct, and discovering how they live on inside of us today. The programme starts in the caves of Gibraltar, which may have been the last place the Neanderthals survived. Discoveries here have shown the Neanderthals lived a good life - feasting on seafood and wild game. These were a people who were supremely well adapted to their environment. But about 40,000 years ago they disappeared. Why? One of the reasons might have been that they lost out in a physical showdown with modern humans. Ella investigates one of the world's oldest murder mysteries.
400 years ago British merchants landed on the coast of India and founded a trading post to export goods to London. Over the next 200 years, their tiny business grew into a commercial titan. Using the letters and diaries of the men and women who were there, this documentary tells the story of the East India Company, which revolutionised the British lifestyle, sparked a new age of speculation and profit and by accident created one of the most powerful empires in history. Yet inexorable rise ended in ignominy. Dogged by allegations of greed, corruption and corporate excess, by the 1770s the company's reputation was in tatters. Blamed for turning its back as millions died in the Bengal famine, and thrown into crisis by a credit crunch in Britain, the world's most powerful company had run out of cash, sparking a government intervention.
From Caves to Cosmos focuses on the deep roots of Native America: Who are America’s First Peoples and how did they create their unique world? Answers emerge from Hopi Elders on pilgrimage at sacred Chaco Canyon in the New Mexico desert, scientists examining ancient cave painting in the Amazon jungle, Chumash boat builders exploring their tribe’s ancient migration legacy off California’s coast, and an archaeologist digging deep below a towering pyramid near Mexico City`
It seems an odd thing to crow about given the cultural wealth of Edo, at the time the largest city in the world, but this pride in the city's water system wasn't misplaced. Cool, pure water carried by pipes to the city's remotest corners was indeed a byword for the quality of life in Edo as well as being the lifeblood of the city's prosperity.
By January 1916 the war had become a stalemate. Millions had died and yet no side had achieved a decisive breakthrough. Austria-Hungary tripled the size of its armies to five million men. Germany doubled its forces to seven million. And in Britain men were volunteering to fight at the rate of up to 33,000 a day.