Mike Loades has spent his life exploring history. He is a historian who believes that when you get your hands on the past, you discover what a surprising place it was - a place with familiar challenges but very different solutions. Now historian and weapons expert Mike Loades presents this program on the Middle Ages, from the 5th to the 15th centuries. It is a distinct period in time that conjures up images of knights on horseback, castles, combat and chainmail, and which has played host to countless fictional adventures, from tales of King Arthur and Merlin to Robin Hood and many more.
Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges - the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature - rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.
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.
The Bronze Age had the first large urban centers, powerful kingdoms and armies, writing, and trade routes across vast areas. What led to the collapse of the city-state entities and the end of the Bronze Age? Possibly a perfect storm of uncontrollable factors that are still being researched.
Today it is easy to see D-Day as inevitable - a straightforward victory against a German army that was already all but defeated. This film explodes that myth. It charts the careful planning of the campaign, the development of specialised equipment needed for the amphibious landing. It reveals the deception plan that wrong footed Hitler. It shows how the Americans were very nearly driven off Omaha beach. If that had happened, the whole operation might have failed. The film ends with the Liberation of Paris, as the Free French forces led by Charles de Gaulle matched down the streets of the capital.
1916, the Great War, far away from the trenches, in the sand of the Middle East, war has a very different face. With a handful of intrepid men, Thomas Edward Lawrence leads the revolt of the Arabs alongside Sharif Hussein, against the Ottoman Empire.