He was a man who combined the savagery of a real-life Conan the Barbarian with the sheer tactical genius of Napoleon, a man from the outermost reaches of Asia whose armies ultimately stood poised to conquer Europe. His name was Genghis Khan.
The German Democratic Republic was created out of the Soviet Zone of occupied Germany in 1949 to build a democratic, anti-fascist Germany. One of the East Germany's greatest achievements was the creation of a more egalitarian society, but he other side of the coin was that there was also the Stalinist bureaucracy and East Germany is mostly remembered as "Stasiland". In the first episode we examine how the collapse of communism affected people in the 'socialist paradise' of East Germany.
What if Alexander had not died at the age of 32? What if he had listened to advisors and returned to Macedonia instead of going on his worldwide conquest? How does the legacy of ideals and leadership left from Alexander's time resonate today?
Simon discovers surprises in Istanbul as it rose to become the imperial capital and Islam's most powerful city. Visiting the great mosques and palaces built by the Ottoman emperors, he tells the stories behind them - of royal concubines, murderous bodyguards and sultans both the powerful and the depraved. He shows how the Christians, Muslims and Jews of the city once co-existed before the waves of nationalist rebellions brought the Ottoman empire to its knees. In the 20th century the ancient capital was once more transformed by the new secular vision of Ataturk.
Jeremy Paxman continues his personal account of Britain's empire, looking at how the empire began as a pirates' treasure hunt, grew into an informal empire based on trade and developed into a global financial network. He travels from Jamaica, where sugar made plantation owners rich on the backs of African slaves, to Calcutta, where British traders became the new princes of India. Jeremy then heads to Hong Kong, where British-supplied opium threatened to turn the Chinese into a nation of drug addicts - leading to the brutal opium wars, in which Britain triumphed and took the island of Hong Kong as booty. Unfair trading helped spark the independence movement in India, led by Mahatma Gandhi; in a former cotton spinning town in Lancashire, Jeremy meets two women who remember Gandhi's extraordinary visit in 1931.