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Self-Access Centre - English - TV Documentaries


The Beauty of Maps - Episode 03: Atlas Maps - Thinking Big

BBC
The Dutch Golden Age saw map-making reach a fever pitch of creative and commercial ambition. This was the era of the first ever atlases - elaborate, lavish and beautiful. This was the great age of discovery and marked an unprecedented opportunity for mapmakers, who sought to record and categorise the newly acquired knowledge of the world. Rising above the many mapmakers in this period was Gerard Mercator, inventor of the Mercator projection, who changed mapmaking forever when he published his collection of world maps in 1598 and coined the term 'atlas'. The programme looks at some of the largest and most elaborate maps ever produced, from the vast maps on the floor of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, to the 24-volume atlas covering just the Netherlands, to the largest atlas in the world, The Klencke Atlas. It was made for Charles II to mark his restoration in 1660. But whilst being one of the British Library's most important items, it is also one of its most fragile, so hardly ever opened. This is a unique opportunity to see inside this enormous and lavish work, and see the world through the eyes of a king.
Geography%%%History

The Beauty of Maps - Episode 04: Cartoon Maps - Politics and Satire

BBC
The series concludes by delving into the world of satirical maps. How did maps take on a new form, not as geographical tools, but as devices for humour, satire or storytelling? Graphic artist Fred Rose perfectly captured the public mood in 1880 with his general election maps featuring Gladstone and Disraeli, using the maps to comment upon crucial election issues still familiar to us today. Technology was on the satirist's side, with the advent of high-speed printing allowing for larger runs at lower cost. In 1877, when Rose produced his Serio Comic Map of Europe at War, maps began to take on a new direction and form, reflecting a changing world. Rose's map exploited these possibilities to the full using a combination of creatures and human figures to represent each European nation. The personification of Russia as a grotesque-looking octopus, extending its tentacles around the surrounding nations, perfectly symbolised the threat the country posed to its neighbours.
Geography%%%History



The Blue Planet - 03 - Open Oceans

BBC
2007. An unfortunate shoal of sardines is first attacked by three-metre-long striped marlin with metre-long, needle-sharp javelins on their heads. The commotion attracts juvenile yellowfin tuna and then a 14-metre Sei whale scoops up the remains.
Biology%%%Environmental Studies

The Blue Planet - 04 - Frozen Seas

BBC
2007. In winter the temperature drops to below -50 degrees centigrade and in Antarctica most animals escape the weather. But emperor penguins stay put and huddle together, incubating their eggs and rearing their chicks in the worst weather on the planet. Weddell seals also remain, keeping their breathing holes open by scraping away the ice with their teeth.
Biology%%%Environmental Studies

The Blue Planet - 05 - Coral Seas

BBC
This next instalment is about coral reefs, which are so crowded that they play host to a perpetual battle for space, even among the coral itself. It starts life as a larva that becomes a polyp. Having multiplied, it hardens into a limestone skeleton and grows to form a reef. As the community flourishes, animals develop relationships with one another and such a place can feature a huge variety of ocean life.
Biology%%%Environmental Studies


The Blue Planet - 07 - Tidal Seas

BBC
2007. A huge tidal wave, sweeps 200 miles inland up the River Amazon. It's an event that only happens on key days each month, when the moon and sun combine their gravitational pull to maximum effect. The force of the wave shatters immense rainforest trees.
Biology%%%Environmental Studies

The Blue Planet - 08 - Coasts

BBC
2007. Each year the entire population of green turtles that live off the coast of Brazil undertakes a massive 5,000-mile migration to the tiny seven-mile-wide island of Ascension, lost in the middle of the Atlantic.
Biology%%%Environmental Studies

The Box That Changed Britain

Graeme McAulay
Poet Roger McGough narrates the extraordinary story of how a simple invention - the shipping container - changed the world forever and forced Britain into the modern era of globalisation.
Economics & Finance%%%Geography


The British at Work - Episode 01: We Can Make It 1945-1964

BBC
Kirsty Young looks at British working lives since the Second World War. This programme combines the memories of ordinary working people with vivid archive from documentary, television and film to look at an era in which work was a great mass experience and work places were lively, welcoming communities. Kirsty hears from women who were moving into a male dominated workforce and sees how the optimistic dreams of the post-war years were undermined by poor management and bickering workers.
History%%%Politics & Public Policy

The British at Work - Episode 02: Them and Us 1964 -1980

BBC
n the second of this series on the history of work, Kirsty Young looks at the years in which the post-war baby boom generation joined the workforce, from the buoyant optimism of the 60s to the union versus management conflicts of the 70s. The programme combines first hand recollection from workers with colourful comedy, drama and documentary archive from the period. While work was often divided between them and us, it was also a time when managers were getting sharper, women were given more responsibility and lots of people were making real money.
History%%%Politics & Public Policy

The British at Work - Episode 03: To Have and Have Not, 1980-1995

BBC
Kirsty Young looks at work in the 80s and 90s, an era of startling contrasts where our jobs could enrich and exhilarate or humble and humiliate. Kirsty meets people who were flush with entrepreneurial spirit, building careers and starting their own businesses, but also those who fell out of work during the collapse of traditional heavy industry. Dipping into the rich and humorous archive of the time, Kirsty also sees how the jobs themselves were changing, the places we worked in were shinier and how the time we spent there was getting longer and longer.
History%%%Politics & Public Policy

The British at Work - The Age of Uncertainty: 1995 - Now

BBC
In the final episode of the series, Kirsty Young looks at how work has changed from the late 90s to the present. Using comedy, drama and archive from the period, she examines how work has crept into the very centre of our lives. Kirsty confronts her own troubles with her work/life balance and hears from ordinary people trying to cope with the relentless demands of 21st-century work. She also explores the curious and often hilarious attempts by managers to make us adopt corporate values by being not just our bosses but also our mates.
History%%%Politics & Public Policy




The Camera that Changed the World

BBC 4
The Camera that Changed the World tells the story of the filmmakers and ingenious engineers who led this revolution by building the first hand-held cameras that followed real life as it happened.
History

The Cell - Episode 02: The Chemistry of Life

BBC
In a three-part series, Dr Adam Rutherford tells the extraordinary story of the scientific quest to discover the secrets of the cell and of life itself. Every living thing is made of cells, microscopic building blocks of almost unimaginable power and complexity. This episode explores how scientists delved ever deeper into the world of the cell, seeking to reveal the magic ingredient that can spark a bundle of chemicals into life. Their discoveries have brought us to the brink of being able to create life for ourselves.
Biology

The Cell - Episode 03: The Spark of Life

BBC
In a three-part series, Dr Adam Rutherford tells the extraordinary story of the scientific quest to discover the secrets of the cell and of life itself. Every living thing is made of cells, microscopic building blocks of almost unimaginable power and complexity. The final part reveals how our knowledge of cells has brought us to the brink of one of the most important moments in history. Scientists are close to repeating what has happened only once in four billion years - the creation of a new life form.
Biology

The Century that Wrote Itself - 01 : The Written Self

Adam Nicolson
Author Adam Nicolson takes an intimate look at the 17th century's diarists and letter writers and how they produced the first great age of self-depiction.He traces our modern sense of self back to the time when ordinary people first took up the quill. At a time of great upheaval, writing was both a means of escape and of fighting for what you believed.
History

The Century that Wrote Itself - 02 : The Rewritten Universe

Adam Nicolson
Adam Nicolson explores the 17th century's contradictory attitudes towards the nature of reality. While a puritan struggled to accept God's will, an early naturalist accepted nothing without testing it first. How did God work? How did the world work?
History


The Challenger

William Hurt
When the space shuttle Challenger blew up in 1986, it was the most shocking event in the history of American spaceflight. The deaths of seven astronauts, including the first teacher in space Christa McAuliffe, were watched live on television by millions of viewers. But what was more shocking was that the cause of the disaster might never be uncovered. The Challenger is the story of how Richard Feynman, one of America's most famous scientists, helped to discover the cause of a tragedy that stunned America.
Engineering

The Children Who Built Victorian Britain

BBC
The catalyst to Britain's Industrial Revolution was the slave labour of orphans and destitute children. In this shocking and moving account of their exploitation and eventual emancipation, Professor Jane Humphries uses the actual words of these child workers.
History

The Chinese Are Coming Part 01

BBC 2
Travelling across three continents, Justin Rowlatt investigates the spread of Chinese influence around the planet and asks what the world will be like if China overtakes America as the world's economic superpower. In the first of two films, he embarks on a journey across Southern Africa to chart the extraordinary phenomenon of Chinese migration to Africa, and the huge influence of China on the development of the continent. While many in the West view Africa as a land of poverty, to the Chinese it is seen as an almost limitless business opportunity. From Angola to Tanzania, Justin meets the fearless Chinese entrepreneurs who have travelled thousands of miles to set up businesses.
Economics & Finance

The Chinese Are Coming Part 02

BBC 2
Justin Rowlatt crosses Brazil and the United States on an epic journey as he continues to investigate the spread of Chinese influence around the planet. In Rio, local industries, including bikini factories, are threatened by cheap Chinese imports, and in the Amazon, Justin witnesses the phenomenal impact of the Chinese hunger for resources on the indigenous people and the environment. In the US, from California to the rust belt, Justin encounters the rising undercurrent of American fury over their own decline in the face of competition from China.
Economics & Finance

The Code - Episode 01 - Numbers

BBC 2
Marcus du Sautoy reveals a hidden numerical code that underpins all nature. A code that has the power to explain everything, from the numbers and shapes we see all around us to the rules that govern our own lives. In this first episode, Marcus reveals how significant numbers apear throughout the natural world. They're part of a hidden mathematical world that contains the rules that govern everything on our planet and beyond.
  • English subtitles
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