On a journey through Ancient Egyptian art, Alastair Sooke picks treasures from its most opulent and glittering moment. Starting with troubling psychological portraits of tyrant king Senwosret III and ending with the golden mask of boy king Tutankhamun, Sooke also explores architectural wonders, exquisite tombs and a lost city - site of the greatest artistic revolution in Egypt's history where a new sinuous style was born under King Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. Along the way Egyptologists and artists reveal that the golden veneer conceals a touching humanity.
When Hitler expounded his intention to invade Russia his generals looked at him in horrified silence. The Soviet Union was vast and had matchless resources. Hitler's whole plan depended upon striking a swift and decisive knock-out blow. Get sucked into a long, drawn-out war and Germany would surely lose. Hitler was certain his forces could do it. No one had so far defeated them. But there had never been a military gamble like it... This film takes in Stalingrad and the battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle in all history.
Alastair unpicks the reasons behind the dazzling revolution that gave birth to classical Greek art, asking how the Greeks got so good so quickly. He travels to the beautiful Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and to the island of Mozia to see the astonishing charioteer found there in 1979, and marvels at the athletic bodies of the warriors dragged from the seabed - the Riace Bronzes. It was a creative explosion that covered architecture, sculpting in marble, casting in bronze, even painting on vases. Perhaps the most powerful factor was also its greatest legacy - a fascination with the naked human body.
In the first of a two-part series, Dr Jago Cooper reassesses the achievements of the Inca Empire. He begins in Peru, where evidence is still being uncovered that challenges preconceptions about its origins and significance. Venturing from the coast to the clouds, he reveals how the Inca transformed one of the most challenging landscapes in the world to ward off the worst effects of the climate, and created sophisticated systems of communication. He shows how one of many independent societies became a commanding empire - not through force, but by using subtle methods of persuasion.