In ancient Japan, honor and glory were reserved for male soldiers only, which makes the story of Takeko Nakano so remarkable. Not only was she a female Japanese warrior, but she was joined by several hundred other samurai warrior women, whose complete dedication and extensive suffering remains one of the world's great untold stories. In this Docu Drama, Discover Nakano's rise to become a martial arts master, her epic battle for her clans' independence, and how in today's martial arts schools, the spirit of Japan's female warriors continues to thrive.
Jeremy Paxman continues his personal account of Britain's empire, looking at how the empire began as a pirates' treasure hunt, grew into an informal empire based on trade and developed into a global financial network. He travels from Jamaica, where sugar made plantation owners rich on the backs of African slaves, to Calcutta, where British traders became the new princes of India. Jeremy then heads to Hong Kong, where British-supplied opium threatened to turn the Chinese into a nation of drug addicts - leading to the brutal opium wars, in which Britain triumphed and took the island of Hong Kong as booty. Unfair trading helped spark the independence movement in India, led by Mahatma Gandhi; in a former cotton spinning town in Lancashire, Jeremy meets two women who remember Gandhi's extraordinary visit in 1931.
Jago begins by journeying through southern Mexico to investigate the rise and fall of America's oldest civilisation, the Olmec, who thrived over 3,000 years ago. He encounters colossal stone heads and the oldest rubber balls in the world and descends deep inside an ancient cave network in search of a were-jaguar.
Waldemar looks at how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the third and fourth centuries. But with no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were Christians to represent their God? He explores how Christian artists drew on images of ancient gods for inspiration and developed new forms of architecture to contain their art.
Tracing the origins of Egypt's unique visual style, he treks across the Sahara and travels the Nile to find the rarely-seen art of its earliest peoples. Exploring how this civilisation's art reflected its religion, he looks anew at the Great Pyramid, and the statuary and painting of the Old Kingdom. Sooke is amazed by the technical prowess of ancient artists whose skills confound contemporary craftsmen.
In the third episode Mary takes an in-depth look at the question of identity and citizenship within the Roman Empire. What did it mean to be, or to become, Roman, and how did the very different parts of the empire react to Roman rule?
The discovery of a rare mass grave with the bones of nearly 60 people outside Luxor sends archaeologists on a quest to find out who the remains belong to, why they were buried the way they were and what was happening in ancient Egypt that would have led to a mass burial. Could the collapse of the empire’s Old Kingdom provide any clues?