Michael Buerk looks at the transformation of the nation during the Victorian era, telling the surprising stories behind famous landmarks and the hidden heroes behind epic constructions. He begins by revealing how the Victorians created public transport and sewerage systems. Michael Buerk looks at how the Victorians created what is now known as the modern home, exploring the huge rise in house-building during the period. He travels to Fakenham, Norfolk, to visit the last remaining gasworks in England, and discovers how the Victorians mastered the art of producing `town gas" from coal. He also investigates how the kitchen was transformed with the advent of gas cookers, as more complex meals including the Sunday roast steadily became the norm across the nation.
The new treasure map leads Albert Lin to discover lost pyramids at the ancient city of El Palmar and beneath the site of a sacrificial ball game. Hidden treasures reveal the epic scale of the ancient Mayan civilization.
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.
In 814 BC, the exiled Phoenician queen Dido founds the city of Carthage on the African Coast. The city develops and takes the lead of a maritime empire based on trade. Carthage dominates the Western Mediterranean. But in the third century BC, she finds herself opposed to the Roman Republic.
In France, Henry III still has no heir. Catherine de Medici is determined to prevent him from being the last of the Valois line and leaving the throne to Henry of Navarre. Yet again, the wind of revolt blows over the kingdom of France and leads to the assassination of Henry, Duke of Guise.
S2E6 • The Real War of Thrones: The True History of Europe • 2018 • History