If David Olusoga's first film in Civilisations is about the art that followed and reflected early encounters between different cultures, his second explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century. David shows the growing ambivalence with which artists reacted to the idea of progress, both intellectual and scientific, that underpinned the imperial mission and followed the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
2018 • History
From Roman marbles and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces and African sculptures, in this special accompanying programme to Civilisations, Mary Beard goes in search of extraordinary works of art from all over the world that can be seen here in Britain.
2018 • History
Egypt's Great Pyramid may be humanity's greatest achievement: a skyscraper of stone built without computers or complex machinery. This super-sized tomb has fascinated historians and archaeologists for centuries, but exactly how the ancient Egyptians finished the monument and fitted its two and a half million blocks in a quarter of a century has long remained an enigma. Today the secrets of the pyramid are finally being revealed thanks to a series of new findings. At the foot of the monument, archaeologists are uncovering the last surviving relic of the pharaoh Khufu, whose tomb it is: a huge ceremonial boat buried in flat-pack form for more than 4500 years. It's a clue that points to the important role that ships and water could have played in the pyramids' construction. This documentary follows investigations that reveal how strong the link between pyramids and boats is. It's a story of more than how Egypt built a pyramid: it's about how the pyramid helped build the modern world.
2017 • History
Day by day. Hour by hour. Second by second. This is the story of last century's bloodiest conflict told in a concise and compelling 3 hour special. Including personal accounts, strategic analysis and rare footage, Inside WWII provides a new and intimate perspective on the experience of war. A soldier's duty is not to reason why; a soldier's duty is to do or die. Inside World War II is the story of the doing and the dying … in the defining conflict of the 20th century. From the producers of the critically acclaimed specials Inside 9/11 and Inside the Vietnam War comes a three-hour television event that provides a detailed visual timeline of this complex war, with personal, in-depth stories from veterans who fought in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Inside World War II combines archival footage with more than 50 testimonies from American, British, German and Soviet servicemen; a former member of the Hitler Youth; and Jewish and black Germans who endured persecution under Hitler's reign. Viewers hear from America's first Japanese American senator, Daniel Inouye, in one of his final interviews before passing away, as he describes with haunting candor what it was like to kill someone during battle. "He had on this German hat, so I told the men, 'That's mine.' He was not only my first, but when I think back, I think back with horror because I was proud." Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient for his service in World War II, goes on to say, "You don't forget the horrors of the war." The explosive first hour of Inside World War II begins in pre-war Germany at the 1936 Olympics, with American distance runner Louis Zamperini describing in an original, never-before-seen interview what it was like to meet Adolf Hitler. "His face, his mustache, the way he combed his hair. I mean he looked like somebody purposely did cosmetics on him for a comedy. He was, to us, a dangerous comedian." The second hour explores the attitudes of soldiers fresh from battle, including Harold Brown, an original Tuskegee Airman who recalls what it was like to fly next to and protect long-range bombers, and Paratrooper Earl McClung, who shares a harrowing tale of being stranded behind enemy lines. Author Benjamin Patton also explains how his grandfather General Patton commanded a ghost army to mislead the enemy, "He was commanding a fictitious Army group that was made up of inflatable tanks and cardboard vehicles, and tents," while General Eisenhower stormed the beaches of Normandy. Inside World War II culminates with the dramatic events of 1945, from Hitler's suicide to the revelation of Nazi concentration camps. And we'll hear Col. Paul Tibbets address the media after dropping the world's first wartime atomic bomb: "We saw this cloud of boiling dust and debris below us with this tremendous mushroom on top. Beneath that was hidden the ruins of the city of Hiroshima." As Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton, 101st Airborne, US Army (Ret.), in the last interview he gave before his death last year, concludes, "I'm glad I did it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not that it was fun, but I think of it as it's a part of my life. And just lucky that I lived through it."
2012 • History
Second part is looking at Czechoslovakia's attempts to reform communism, which were brutally crushed in an invasion by Warsaw Pact allies in 1968. What followed was the reimposition of hardline communist rule known as 'Normalisation' - under which the reformers were removed, the reforms reversed and history rewritten, leaving the country known as 'the Kingdom of Forgetting'.
What happened when early humans ventured out of Africa and into Asia? Where did they go and whom did they meet along the way? The latest evidence suggests they left far earlier than previously thought and interbred with other types of ancient human - Homo erectus, Neanderthals and also the Denisovans, whose existence was established only five years ago when geneticists extracted DNA from a tiny fragment of finger bone. Because these ancient humans mated with our ancestors, their genes have found a home in our DNA. More than that, they’ve helped us survive and thrive.
In the city of Jerusalem, a man is crucified - Jesus of Nazareth. His death gives birth to a global religion. But Christianity may never have happened without the Roman Empire. A vast network of roads and shipping lanes, it allows goods and ideas to flow across three continents. Jesus’ message transforms Mankind. Today one in three people on the planet are Christians.