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TV Documentaries

Seven Ages of Britain (C4) - Episode 02: 1500 BC - 43 AD

Channel 4
Sweeping changes transformed the lives of the masses beyond recognition during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Around 3,500 years ago, fewer than 250,000 people lived on the British Isles, scattered across the landscape in small groups. They had already made monumental advances, clearing great swathes of forests, eventually settling as farmers, and becoming master builders. But they were still far from being a nation or even an identifiable society, and nothing could prepare them for what was to happen next. Natural disaster struck, causing global environmental turmoil. In Britain this resulted in widespread flooding. Land cleared over millennia became worthless overnight. The hunter-gatherers who had painstakingly built the first farms were forced to abandon their homes and learn new skills. Towards the end of the Iron Age people were organised into tribes with names, leaders and simple coinage. They became significant traders with their continental neighbours. But this forward-looking enterprise sent out strong signals that Britain was worth conquering, and an expansionist Roman leader prepared to seize this opportunity...

Seven Ages of Britain (C4) - Episode 04: 410 AD - 1066

Channel 4
The gradual collapse of the Roman Empire led to the disintegration of Britannia. For the next 600 years people would watch their homelands become battlegrounds invaded and plundered by men from Scandinavia and northern Europe, hungry for power and land. This was a time of upheaval and chaos, but out of it came much of the Britain that we know today. Language and rule of law, state religion and faith in the market economy all originate from this period. This was also a time when England eventually became wealthy and independent, recognised as one of the prizes of western Europe.

Seven Ages of Britain (C4) - Episode 06: 1350 - 1650 AD

Channel 4
The penultimate programme in the series follows the course of the greatest revolution in British history: a revolution of the mind. The horror of the Black Death brought in its wake a surprising gift for the ordinary men and women of Britain: freedom. With too much land and too few people to tend it, the peasantry were, for the first time in their history, in a position to bargain, and the bargain they made was for freedom. Britain became the only country to liberate its tied labourers and farmers. Free men and women brought with them free thinking, released from the social constraints of a feudal class structure. The grip of the old nobility was weakening as new aspirational groups emerged: capital farmers in the countryside and merchant adventurers in the cities. But to truly establish themselves they would need land, which is what Henry VIII would provide them with, by the wholesale dismantling of the greatest institution in medieval Britain: the Catholic Church.

Seven Wonders of the Industrial World - Episode 04: The Transcontinental Railway

Paul Bryers
By the middle of the 19th century, the benefits brought by the countless advances of the Industrial Age were gradually beginning to reach America, which soon developed a spectacular achievement of its own - the Transcontinental Railway, reaching right across the continent. With two teams, one building from the east and the other from California in the west, they battled against hostile terrain, hostile inhabitants, civil war and the Wild West. Yet in 1869, the two teams' tracks were joined, shrinking the whole American continent, as the journey from New York to San Francisco was reduced from months to days

Speed Machines - Episode 01: The Great Ocean Liners.

Channel Four
The 1930s was a highpoint for ocean-going liners. Crossing the Atlantic by boat was the only way to reach the US, and competition between the French and British shipyards was never less than fierce, a focus for patriotic pride. The British Queen Mary and French Normandie epitomised the golden age of the ocean liners. They were among the floating Art Deco palaces that competed intensely to win the Blue Riband - a prize for the fastest Atlantic crossing. A Holy Grail for the two countries, this prize was also a great bit of marketing.

Speed Machines - Episode 03: The Flying Boats

Channel Four
Back in the 1930s, two giant airlines began to span the globe, flying firstly mail and then passengers around the world. Pan American flew to Latin America and eventually across the Pacific to Asia. Britain's Imperial Airways linked the empire from Europe through the the Middle East to Africa, India and beyond. But crossing the North Atlantic, although potentially one of the most lucrative routes, proved more difficult. The flying boats themselves were glorious glamour pusses, transporting a handful of lucky souls around the world in fabulous luxury, standard bearers of a now mythical golden age of flight. This episode tells the story of the rivalry between Pan Am and Imperial Airways to get the first commercial airline service flying across the Atlantic - a race won just weeks before the outbreak of World War Two.

Speed Machines - Episode 04: The Speed Boat Kings

Channel Four
The fourth episode in the series visits the fast, furious and all-too-often deadly powerboat races of the 1920s and 30s. In the biggest spectator sport of the time, the fastest men on water competed in gladiatorial combats in front of crowds of up to a million spectators. The Harmsworth Challenge was the America's Cup of the powerboat world, with intense rivalry between Britain, who relied on technological ingenuity, and America, who put their trust in boats powered by immensely powerful aircraft engines. It was a David and Goliath confrontation, which was only put aside when World War II loomed. But the powerboat technology survived to be adopted by the military, spawning the Royal Navy's fleet of speedy Motor Torpedo Boats and the US Navy's legendary PT patrol boat. Using previously unseen archive footage and personal testimony from those who were there, Speed Machines tells the story of this golden age of powerboat racing.

Spitfire Women

During World War II, a remarkable band of female pilots fought against all odds for the right to aid the war effort. Without these Spitfire Women, the war may never have been won.

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields

Channel 4
Jon Snow presents a forensic investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished.

Channel 4
In 2011 Channel 4 exposed damning evidence of atrocities committed in the war in Sri Lanka. Jon Snow presents this powerful follow-up film, revealing new video evidence as well as contemporaneous documents, eye-witness accounts, photographic stills and videos relating to how exactly events unfolded during the final days of the civil war.

Stephen Hawking in Brief - Fame

Channel 4
The world's most famous living scientist talks exclusively about his experience of fame, thanks to the success of A Brief History of Time, and his desire to use that fame to inspire the next generation of scientists
General Interest

Storyville - Knuckle: Bare Fist Fighting

Ian Palmer
Documentary which goes inside the secretive Traveller world - a world of long and bitter memories. Filmed over twelve years, the film chronicles a history of violent feuding between rival families, using remarkable access to document the bare-fist fights between the Quinn McDonaghs and the Joyce clans, who, though cousins, have clashed for generations. Vivid, violent and funny, the film explores the need for revenge and the pressure to fight for the honour of your family name.

Storyville - Power, Money, Greed & Oil

Rachel Boynton
An epic venture into capitalism at the beginning of the 21st century. Made over five years, this documentary is a comprehensive insider account of a modern-day gold rush as Dallas-based Kosmos Energy race ahead to develop the first commercial oil field in Ghana's history, in the deep waters of the Gulf of Guinea.
Economics & Finance

Storyville - The Most Dangerous Man in America

Judith Ehrlich Judith Ehrlich
In 1971, leading Vietnam War strategist Daniel Ellsberg concluded that the war was based on decades of lies. He leaked 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to the New York Times, a daring act of conscience that led directly to Watergate, President Nixon's resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.

Symphony - Episode 1: Genesis and Genius

Simon Russell Beale presents a radical reappraisal of the place of the symphony in the modern world and explores the surprising way in which it has shaped our history and identity.The first episode begins amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution with the arrival in England of Joseph Haydn, dubbed the \'Father of the Symphony\'.