See how Osama bin Laden's journey unfolds; from his roots as a privileged young Saudi boy to becoming the formidable leader of al-Qaeda, and his lifetime commitment to violent jihad against the West, which results in the horrific attacks in 2001.
2015 • History
Francois Duvalier trained as a medical doctor, but his healing touch was lost as he became the ruthless dictator "Papa Doc". The tools of his tyranny were violence and Voodoo. He killed 30,000 people, and kept a nation in fear of his mystical powers.
2015 • History
Roman Empire looks at the end of the reign of Caligula. His sisters Agrippina and Livilla plot against him after he marries. He later has them shipped to exile on an island in the Mediterranean. The derange emperor becomes even more debauched and begins to spend large amounts of money on monuments to himself. To raise money seizes property after accusing senators of treason and raises taxes. He later orders the invasion of Britain, but his distrustful soldiers refuse to go. Eventually, he is assassinated by the Praetorian Guard and his uncle Claudius is made Emperor.
In 480BC, the Greek army, led by 300 Spartan warriors, awaited the onslaught of the Persian Empire's war machine. Discover what happened at the bloody Battle of Thermopylae. This spectacular two hour documentary tells the amazing true story of the 300 Spartan warriors who so selflessly defended their country against the mighty Persian army, estimated at being a million strong for almost 7 days. This is the real story of the most famous last stand in history. At the height of the Persian-Greek war, Xerxes, King of Persia, intent on conquering all of Greece, led his mighty army into battle. But what awaited them was not to be anticipated. For seven days the King of Sparta Leonidas accompanied by just 300 Spartan warriors and a number of Greek regulars held off the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, so that the Greek army would have time to mobilise. Against impossible odds, the Spartans held the narrow pass, inflicting shocking casualty numbers on the Persians untill every last Spartan was slain. This program is visually stunning with breathtaking dramatisations and graphics helping to bring the true story of the Spartans last stand to life and tell the real story behind what happened at the pass at Thermopylae, which is still used in military academies and by tactitians around the world today. Spartans never retreated. That's a fact. Or is it? But, putting aside the myths and legends surrounding the 300 Spartans, this documentary, which involves the most accurate, real-life ancient battle scenes ever filmed, takes a detailed look at The Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, leading to the last stand of the 300 Spartans, other Greeks and the Great Spartan King, Leonidas. The legend passed down is that Leonidas went to Thermopylae with a picked band of 300 Spartans to defend the narrow pass with units from other Greek cities. Then on the 3rd day of the battle, when he found out he was being surrounded, he sent most of his troops away and covered their retreat with a last stand because, again, Spartans never retreated. Had this heroic stand by the 300 Spartans never occurred, Western Civilization would not have flourished as we know it today.
2007 • History
Mankind takes on godlike powers: to feed billions of people, reshape the landscape, re-engineer the human body. The greatest power of all was unleashed over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Since entering the Atomic Age we’ve been living between eternity and oblivion. But at the same time, we’ve become more connected as a species. 100,000 years ago there were a few thousand hunter-gatherers on the African savannah. Today there are 7 billion of us in every corner of the globe. It’s been an amazing journey.
From lowly Corsican Army officer to first consul of France, this episode charts the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte to leader of the French nation in the late 1790s. It tells of Napoleon's military triumphs in Italy, Eqypt and against anti-revolutionaries on the streets of Paris, his marriage to Josephine Beauharnais and leadership of the military coup of 1799 that swept him into power.
In the subsequent 65 million years, mammals are part of Europe’s history. Sea mammals conquered the oceans while herds of herbivores crisscrossed the land. It was 600,000 years ago that Homo Heidelbergensis first began hunting. Seen from a geological perspective, human beings have been on the earth for only a few short moments, but within this brief time we have already fundamentally transformed the planet. Rivers have been straightened, forests cleared and roads laid down across the natural habitats of nearly all the earth’s animals.
Bettany Hughes recalls eight pivotal days that defined the Roman Empire and its establishment as the world's first superpower. She begins by exploring the day in 202BC when Rome defeated the might of Carthage under Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in modern-day Tunisia "Eight Days That Made Rome is a docu-drama that leaves behind the conventional chronologies of Rome's thousand-year history and brings razor-sharp focus to eight days that created, tested and defined its greatness. Each programme works as a stand-alone, as strong in its own right as part of a series and reveals a Rome relevant to us today, with its noblest and darkest instincts still resonating in the world around us."