Simon discovers surprises in Istanbul as it rose to become the imperial capital and Islam's most powerful city. Visiting the great mosques and palaces built by the Ottoman emperors, he tells the stories behind them - of royal concubines, murderous bodyguards and sultans both the powerful and the depraved. He shows how the Christians, Muslims and Jews of the city once co-existed before the waves of nationalist rebellions brought the Ottoman empire to its knees. In the 20th century the ancient capital was once more transformed by the new secular vision of Ataturk.
March 1953. Stalin is dead. Following many long hours of agony in his dacha, the Little Father of Peoples is now no more than an embalmed corpse. His potential successors eagerly flock to pay their respects. In East Berlin, a wave of hope swept through the German workers who rise up against the Party. This hope is swiftly crushed by Soviet tanks... In Asia, the hot conflicts are coming to an end. After the Panmunjom truce, the US ingloriously leaves Korea. The few remaining troops impatiently await a visit from Marilyn Monroe. In the meantime, in Indochina, another army prepares for a far less exciting event. The French hope to stop the Vietminh in Dien Bien Phu, a village surrounded by mountains 300 km from Hanoi... But the French generals do not suspect that at the same time, General Giap of Vietminh and his Chinese advisers, are developing a plan battle that will take the form of a trap: let the French forces settle in the basin of Dien Bien Phu, then surround and destroy them. The French army soon evacuated the country, terribly bruised and humiliated, but Ho Chi Minh only partially triumphed: during the Geneva negotiations, his Chinese and Soviet comrades disappointed his expectations, for fear of an escalation of the conflict. Ho Chi Minh got North Vietnam, but the South is still in Western hands. What will Ho Chi Minh do?
Bettany Hughes' series profiling the most celebrated thinkers of the Ancient world continues as she turns her attention to Socrates. Heading to Greece, she details how the Athenian philosopher secured a reputation as an influential maverick. She also highlights how his contributions as one of the founders of Western philosophy did not please his detractors, as his outspoken defence of his beliefs ultimately led to his execution.
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 4: Into the Light) Andrew Marr reaches the Middle Ages. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe was little more than a muddy backwater. Vikings explored and pillaged from Northern Europe to North America. But they also laid the foundations of powerful new trading states - including Russia. This was also the Golden Age of Islam, and the knowledge of ancient civilisations from India, Persia and Greece was built upon by Islamic scholars in Baghdad's House of Wisdom. By exploring the conquests of Genghis Khan, the adventures of Marco Polo and the extraordinary story of an African King - the wealthiest who ever lived - Marr finds out how Europe emerged from the so-called 'Dark Ages' and used influences from around the world to rise again with the Renaissance.
The first two hours of NEW YORK: A DOCUMENTARY FILM chronicle New York's beginnings -- from its earliest days as a Dutch trading post to the 17th century construction of the Erie Canal, which made New York City a vital conduit to the mainland of a growing America.
The Roman emperor Nero is considered one of history's greatest criminals. His name has become synonymous with evil, as historic accounts have accused him of killing his stepbrother, his wife and his mother, as well persecuting Christians and instigating the devastating Great Fire of Rome. This is the judgement that is passed in history from one generation to the next, but are these accounts of Nero's reign accurate? New scientific discoveries and a closer examination of the ancient texts written about Nero cast a different light on the Roman emperor and the accusations levelled against him. Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files follows internationally renowned criminal psychologist Thomas Muller and a team of scientists and historians as they investigate the new evidence in order to discover the truth about the controversial emperor.