This is one of the last and greatest untold stories of the Second World War, revealed by the last surviving Chief of State, King Michael I of Romania. “We took the train to Berlin to see the other side of the coin and we had lunch with Hitler. It wasn’t an enjoyable meeting.” It is the story of a King’s decision who, in a critical moment of the Second World War, relinquished Germany’s support, guiding Romania towards the Allies, thus bringing about a quicker end to the war. It is a story of palatial intrigues. And a story of deceptions. From Buckingham Palace to Bucharest. From Moscow to Washington. Lost diplomatic signals, aristocrat spies and blackmail at gun point. And the courage of a young king who dared. Romania, at the outbreak of the Second World War, was a very young nation, with an age of only 20 years.
Alastair unpicks the reasons behind the dazzling revolution that gave birth to classical Greek art, asking how the Greeks got so good so quickly. He travels to the beautiful Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and to the island of Mozia to see the astonishing charioteer found there in 1979, and marvels at the athletic bodies of the warriors dragged from the seabed - the Riace Bronzes. It was a creative explosion that covered architecture, sculpting in marble, casting in bronze, even painting on vases. Perhaps the most powerful factor was also its greatest legacy - a fascination with the naked human body.
Three-part drama-documentary series revealing the truth about England's most infamous King, King Henry VIII. Filming in historic locations including Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and the Vatican and unearthing new documents never seen before on TV, a team of Tudor experts uncover the real Henry, and explore how his complex personality fundamentally shaped the nation. Ch1. Rise of a Tyrant Experts examine how Henry VIII's traumatic childhood affected his personality, from the death of his older brother to the tragic early death of his beloved mother. Narrated by Jason Isaacs. Ch2. Bloodlust and the Boleyns Takes viewers on a journey through the turbulent marriages, affairs and tyrannical politics of King Henry VIII's reign, and explores how Henry's obsession with marrying Anne Boleyn resulted in a cataclysmic and hugely unpopular split with the Roman Catholic Church. The programme also examines Henry's relationship with his new chief advisor and enforcer, Thomas Cromwell, who would come to bear the brunt of the King's increasing unhinged behaviour in the years to come. Narrated by Jason Isaacs. Ch3. Endgame A look at the king's final years, when the pain caused by an infected ulcer on his leg had a detrimental impact on his increasingly angry temperament. Lauren Johnson examines the king's exotic diet, including meat from porpoises and seals, and considers its impact on both his weight and his health. Plus, a look at a Catholic rebellion and the breakdown of Henry's relationship with advisor Thomas Cromwell.
2020 • History
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.
Both the Allies and the Nazis were always looking for a single knock-out blow to end the war. Britain's Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris thought the answer might lie in "strategic bombing." The idea was to blow the belt out of Germany's infrastructure and cities. This, he argued, would cripple the Nazis ability to wage a war and the ordinary people would soon lose the will to fight. But it led directly to the tragedy of Dresden, when Allied planes firebombed tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. The Germans believed that the decisive stranglehold would come from their submarines. If they could only cut American supply lines to Britain across the Atlantic, then the Allied effort would collapse. So begun a long game of cat and mouse between U-Boats and British and American convoys.
11th November 1918. The world emerges from the worst conflict ever known. While the victors build a new world order, traumatised peoples rebuild their lives. In the years to come, the major empires collapse while hatred and fear resurface, leading the world to a new apocalypse. Directed by: Isabelle Clarke, Daniel Costelle (France, 2018). Narration: Mathieu Kassovitz
2018 • History