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Caligula

   2013    History
Two thousand years ago one of history's most notorious individuals was born. Professor Mary Beard embarks on an investigative journey to explore the life and times of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - better known to us as Caligula. Caligula has now become known as Rome's most capricious tyrant, and the stories told about him are some of the most extraordinary told about any Roman emperor. He was said to have made his horse a consul, proclaimed himself a living God, and indulged in scandalous orgies - even with his own three sisters - and that's before you mention building vast bridges across land and sea, prostituting senators' wives and killing half the Roman elite seemingly on a whim. All that in just four short years in power before a violent and speedy assassination in a back alley of his own palace at just 28-years-old." But how much of his story is true? Travelling across the Roman world - from Germany and Capri in the bay of Naples to the astonishing luxury of his life in imperial Rome - Mary attempts to peel away the myths. Some stories are difficult to get to the bottom of as they were written by hacks long after his death, but there is plenty of surviving evidence where the 'real' Caligula can be glimpsed. Such as in the extraordinary luxury of his private yachts outside Rome; in the designs he chose for his coins when he became Emperor; in an eye-witness account of Caligula's withering humour written in 41AD; the trial documents covering the mysterious death of his father when he was just seven-years-old; and even in a record of his imperial slaves - from the palace spy to his personal trainer. Piecing together the evidence, Mary puts Caligula back into the context of his times to reveal an astonishing story of murder, intrigue and dynastic family power. Above all, she explains why Caligula has ended up with such a seemingly unredeemable reputation. In the process, she reveals a more intriguing portrait of not just the monster, but the man.

The Day the Dinosaurs Died

   2017    Science
Experts suspect that the dinosaurs were wiped out after a city-sized asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico causing a huge crater. But until now, they haven't had any proof. In a world first, evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod joins a multi-million pound drilling expedition into the exact spot the asteroid hit to get hard evidence of the link. The team overcomes huge obstacles as it attempts to drill 1,500 metres beneath sea level to pull up rock from the Chicxulub crater. Meanwhile, paleopathologist Professor Alice Roberts travels the globe meeting top scientists and gaining exclusive access to a mass fossil graveyard in New Jersey - believed to date from the same time the asteroid hit. Alice also treks by horseback across the remote plains of Patagonia, to see if the effects of the asteroid impact could have wiped out dinosaurs across the world - almost immediately.

The Magic of Mushrooms

   2014    Science
Professor Richard Fortey delves into the fascinating and normally-hidden kingdom of fungi. From their spectacular birth, through their secretive underground life to their final explosive death, Richard reveals a remarkable world that few of us understand or even realise exists - yet all life on Earth depends on it. In a specially-built mushroom lab, with the help of mycologist Dr Patrick Hickey and some state-of-the-art technology, Richard brings to life the secret world of mushrooms as never seen before and reveals the spectacular abilities of fungi to break down waste and sustain new plant life, keeping our planet alive. Beyond the lab, Richard travels across Britain and beyond to show us the biggest, fastest and most deadly organisms on the planet - all of them fungi. He reveals their almost magical powers that have world-changing potential - opening up new frontiers in science, medicine and technology.

London: The Modern Babylon

   2012    Culture
Julien Temple's epic time-travelling voyage to the heart of his hometown. From musicians, writers and artists to dangerous thinkers, political radicals and above all ordinary people, this is the story of London's immigrants, its bohemians and how together they changed the city forever. Reaching back to the dawn of film in London at the start of the 20th century, the story unfolds through film archive, voices of Londoners past and present and the flow of popular music across the century; a stream of urban consciousness, like the river which flows through its heart. It ends now, as London prepares to welcome the world to the 2012 Olympics.

First Celts

   2015    History
The Celts - one of the world's most mysterious ancient people. In Britain and Ireland, we are never far from our Celtic past but in this series Prof. Alice Roberts and archaeologist Neil Oliver travel much further afield, discovering the origins and beliefs of these Iron Age people in artefacts and human remains right across Europe, from Turkey to Portugal. What emerges is not a wild people on the western fringes of Europe, but a highly sophisticated tribal culture that influenced vast areas of the ancient world - and even Rome". Rich with vivid drama reconstruction, we recreate this pivotal time and meet some of our most famous ancient leaders - from Queen Boudicca to Julius Caesar - and relive the battles they fought for the heart and soul of Europe. Alice and Neil discover that these key battles between the Celts and the Romans over the best part of 500 years constituted a fight for two very different forms of civilisation - a fight that came to define the world we live in today. In the first episode, we see the origins of the Celts in the Alps of central Europe and relive the moment of first contact with the Romans in a pitched battle just north of Rome - a battle that the Celts won and that left the imperial city devastated.
Series: The Celts: Blood, Iron, and Sacrifice
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
In the Age of AI
In the Age of AI

   2019    Technology
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
The Story of Maths
The Story of Maths

   2008    Science
Life
Life

   2009    Nature
The Story of the Jews
The Story of the Jews

   2013    History
Conquistadors
Conquistadors

   2002    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History