By 1800 the East India Company had grown from a tiny band of merchants into a colossal trading empire. But scandal and corruption in the 18th century had led to a curtailment of its powers by the British government. The state now controlled the company's affairs in India and, throughout the 19th century, would chip away at its remaining powers and trading privileges. The company was transformed from a trading enterprise into the rulers of India, and governed vast swathes of the subcontinent on behalf of the British Crown. Its territory expanded enormously and an empire was born. As the company traded opium to a reluctant Chinese Empire, in India a dangerous chasm opened up between the British rulers and the Indian people. Alienated and disaffected, significant numbers of the company's massive army of Indian soldiers finally revolted and the Company's handling of the mutiny was its final undoing. In 1858 British India passed into Queen Victoria's hands and the Raj was born.
Actor Clive Standon travels across Europe with Viking experts to discover how the Vikings were able to invade England and France. In Rise of the Pagans,Vikings actors Clive Standen and Maude Hirst travel to Scandinavia to explore the pagan beliefs and warrior culture of the Vikings-and dispel myths about their violent society.
In the first programme, he asks how such a small country got such a big head, and how a tiny island in the North Atlantic came to rule over a quarter of the world's population. He travels to India, where local soldiers and local maharajahs helped a handful of British traders to take over vast areas of land. Spectacular displays of imperial power dazzled subject peoples and developed a cult of Queen Victoria as Empress, mother and virtual God. In Egypt, Jeremy explores the bit of Empire that never was, as Britain's temporary peace-keeping visit turned into a seventy year occupation. He travels to the desert where Lawrence of Arabia brought a touch of romance to the grim struggle of the First World War. As Britain came to believe it could solve the world's problems, he tells the story of the triumphant conquest of Palestine by Imperial troops - and Britain's role in a conflict that haunts the Middle East to this day.
The Industrial Revolution and the rise of modern warfare have roots in the depths of time—in the natural process that enriches the soil. How do prehistoric forests link to the development of steam engines, and the rise of modern industry?