China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi.
Two great revolutions entwine. The American Revolution inspires dreams of political and personal liberty. The Industrial Revolution replaces muscle power with machines, freeing Mankind from nature’s limits. But our oldest foe – disease – thrives in industrial cities. With the American Civil War, the two revolutions collide. The world’s first industrial war, it is a battle to define ‘freedom’.
The French army stops the German advance at the battle of the Marne, while the Germans halt the Russians at Tannenberg on the eastern front. In France, the warring parties dig themselves in for 4 years in the trenches. Soldiers from the colonies come lend a hand to their colonizers and the war becomes global.
It is 1918 and the end of WWI. Millions have died, and the world is exhausted by war. But soon a new horror is sweeping the world, a terrifying virus that will kill more than fifty million people - the Spanish flu. Using dramatic reconstruction and eyewitness testimony from doctors, soldiers, civilians and politicians, this one-off special brings to life the onslaught of the disease, the horrors of those who lived through it and the efforts of the pioneering scientists desperately looking for the cure. The film also asks whether, a century later, the lessons learnt in 1918 might help us fight a future global flu pandemic.
2018 • History