Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya, shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi, and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime. His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.
The film chronicles the story of how the Nazis and the IOC turned, to their mutual benefit, a small sports event into the modern Olympics. The grand themes and controversial issues from the 1936 Games have continued to this day: Monumentality, budget overruns, collusion with authoritarian regimes, corruption and sometimes even bribery. Featuring never before seen archival footage and new research, The Nazi Games reveals how the Olympics as we have come to know them were shaped by the collaboration of interests between Hitler and ambitious Olympic gentlemen. After initial distrust, both the IOC and the Nazis found common ground in turning the 1936 Games into the biggest Olympic show the world has ever seen.
2016 • History
The final programme in the series looks at Romania, where Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu ran a personal dictatorship for nearly a quarter of a century. Abortion and contraception were banned as their rule reached far into the private lives of every Romanian. When communism collapsed and the regime was overthrown, the self-styled 'mother and father of the nation' were executed by a firing squad on December 25 1989.