Julius Caesar is the most famous Roman of them all: brutal conqueror, dictator and victim of a gruesome assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC. 2,000 years on, he still shapes the world. He has given us some political slogans we still use today (Crossing the Rubicon), his name lives on in the month of July, and there is nothing new about Vladmir Putin's carefully cultivated military image and no real novelty in Donald Trump's tweets and slogans. Mary Beard is on a mission to uncover the real Caesar, and to challenge public perception. She seeks the answers to some big questions. How did he become a one-man ruler of Rome? How did he use spin and PR on his way to the top? Why was he killed? And she asks some equally intriguing little questions. How did he conceal his bald patch? Did he really die, as William Shakespeare put it, with the words Et tu, Brute on his lips? Above all, Mary explores his surprising legacy right up to the present day. Like it or not, Caesar is still present in our everyday lives, our language, and our politics. Many dictators since, not to mention some other less autocratic leaders, have learned the tricks of their trade from Julius Caesar.
Follows the UK's most ambitious and cutting-edge ancient DNA project to date. For the first time, a team of top scientists at the Natural History Museum and University College London have analysed the DNA of Britain's oldest complete skeleton. Known as Cheddar Man, this human male fossil was originally unearthed over 100 years ago in Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Building on the advanced genetic testing of his 10,000-year-old bones, two of the most acclaimed palaeontological model makers in the world, Dutch identical twins Adrie and Alfons Kennis, have recreated Cheddar Man's entire head to give his extraordinary skeleton a real identity for the first time.
The evacuation of allied troops from the beaches at Dunkirk was rightly celebrated as a great moment in British history. What very few people know, though, is that after Dunkirk tens of thousands of British troops were left in France, fighting for their lives. After the rest of the British army had gone home, the 51st Highland Division were ordered to fight on against the might of Adolf Hitler's war machine. Now, almost 80 years later, the only remaining survivors of that Division tell their extraordinary story for the first time - and probably the last. Using recently declassified secret documents, the full details of their fight for survival and why they were left to fight on in France can now be revealed. It's the story of a desperate battle in the face of overwhelming odds, a remarkable, courageous last stand and the doomed maverick rescue mission launched to save the men of the 51st.
2018 • History
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the impact of the Atlantic trading world, giving rise to powerful new kingdoms, but also transatlantic slave trade. Learn of the revolutionary movements of the 18th & early 19th centuries, including the advent of the Sokoto Caliphate. In the final part Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the dynamism of 19th century Africa, the “Scramble” by European powers for its riches, and the defiant and successful stand of uncolonized Ethiopia.
Academy Award winner Peter Jackson's poignant WWI documentary 'They Shall Not Grow Old' to commemorate the centennial of the end of the first World War. The acclaimed documentary is an extraordinary look at the soldiers and events of the Great War, using film footage captured at the time, now presented as the world has never seen. By utilizing state-of-the-art restoration, colorization and 3D technologies, and pulling from 600 hours of BBC archival interviews, Jackson puts forth an intensely gripping, immersive and authentic experience through the eyes and voices of the British soldiers who lived it. Jackson recorded a special introduction to the film offering his perspective on why the film is important for audiences, who have never experienced WWI footage as anything but grainy black & white, and silent. Jackson opens a window to the past in a way that has never been seen or heard before, noting, "Restoration is a humanizing process."
2018 • History