In this first episode, Mary Beard reaches back to the myths and legends of the origins of Rome to gain an insight into the deep-rooted psyche of the people of Rome - a city born through fratricide and rape.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 1: Survival) Starting with our earliest beginnings in Africa, Marr traces the story of our nomadic ancestors as they spread out around the world and settled down to become the first farmers and townspeople. He uncovers extraordinary hand-prints left in European caves nearly 30,000 years ago and shows how human ingenuity led to inventions which are still with us today. He also discovers how the first civilisations were driven to extremes to try to overcome the forces of nature, adapting and surviving against the odds, and reveals how everyday life in ancient Egypt had more in common with today's soap operas than might be imagined.
Since the end of the 19th century, Indochina has been a flourishing colony, the gem of the French Empire. However, the Second World War turns everything upside down. At the end of the war, the Viet Minh movement announces its independence.
Examines the botched raid on the German-occupied harbour of Dieppe, France in August 1942, which resulted in the loss of around 4,000 Allied men and drove home just how costly an invasion of France would be. The programme also focuses on Hitler's order in 1945 to destroy any military or industrial facilities that could be useful to the enemy - which would have condemned the German people to utter desolation.
Alastair unpicks the reasons behind the dazzling revolution that gave birth to classical Greek art, asking how the Greeks got so good so quickly. He travels to the beautiful Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and to the island of Mozia to see the astonishing charioteer found there in 1979, and marvels at the athletic bodies of the warriors dragged from the seabed - the Riace Bronzes. It was a creative explosion that covered architecture, sculpting in marble, casting in bronze, even painting on vases. Perhaps the most powerful factor was also its greatest legacy - a fascination with the naked human body.
In the 17th century, a long period of civil war in France and war across Europe, rebellious members of the French Parliament, dubbed The Fronde, defy the monarchy and this defiance does not end well for them...and changes the history of France.