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The Ming

   2016    History
The tale of one of China's most famous dynasties begins with the amazing story of Hongwu, a peasant rebel who founded one of greatest eras in Chinese history. The film takes us to his great capital Nanjing, with its 21 miles of walls, each brick stamped with the name of the village that made it. Following the trail, we go to the Bao family village and see the villagers act a Ming murder story.
Like many authoritarian states, the Ming were obsessive about architecture. We see the giant fortifications of the Great Wall, the ritual enclaves of the Forbidden City in Beijing and travel with bargeman Mr Hu down the Grand Canal, China's great artery of commerce right up to the present day. We then hear about Admiral Zheng He's voyages to Africa and the Gulf decades before Columbus, watch the construction of an ocean-going wooden boat 250ft long, and hitch a ride on a replica Ming junk in the South China Sea.
As state prosperity grew, so did a rising middle class. Wood looks at Ming culture in Suzhou, the 'Venice of China'. Staying in a merchant's house, he discovers the silk, ceramic and lacquer-making industries, and visits one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. Then on to Macao and the arrival of Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, who hoped to convert China to Christianity. In the cathedral in Beijing, we learn more about these fateful exchanges with the west. Finally in Shaoxing, we visit the house of the 'Ming Proust' and at grassroots the Zhao family in Fujian where the film ends in an elegiac mood with the fall of the Ming in 1644.
Series: The Story of China

Did Darwin kill God

   2009    Science
There are some who believe that Darwin's theory of evolution has weakened religion. Conor Cunningham argues that nothing could be further from the truth.He travels to the Middle East where he shows that from the very outset, Christianity warned against literal readings of the biblical story of creation. In Britain, he reveals that, at the time, Darwin's theory of evolution was welcomed by the Anglican and Catholic Churches. Instead, he argues that the conflict between Darwin and God was manufactured by American creationists in the 20th century for reasons that had very little to do with science and religion and a great deal to do with politics and morality. Finally, he comes face to face with some of the most eminent evolutionary biologists, geneticists and philosophers of our time to examine whether the very

The Clash of Titans

   2012    History
The most famous – and perhaps most misunderstood – episodes in the epic history of the Holy Wars that are known to history as The Crusades – the clash between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. In July 1192, Richard the Lionheart stood poised for a strike on Jerusalem, while Saladin – mighty sultan of Islam – readied his troops inside the city, preparing for the inevitable attack. During a year-long campaign across Palestine, these two legendary leaders had fought each other to a stand-still. Thousands had perished, appalling atrocities had been perpetrated on both sides. And now they faced each other in a battle for their sacred objective.
Series: The Crusades

The Real Garden of Eden

   2011    Culture
Can we find the Garden of Eden? Bible scholar Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou thinks so. In the final episode of her series re-examining conventional readings of the Bible, she argues that the Garden of Eden has nothing to do with the origins of humanity, but is rather a story concealing dramatic events about a particular figure in a particular place, two and half thousand years ago. Marshalling compelling evidence from archaeology, Islam and the Bible text itself, she identifies and visits the exact site of Eden. It's a revolutionary theory which challenges some of the most cherished preconceptions about Eden in both Christianity and western culture.
Series: Bible's Buried Secrets

Orthodoxy From Empire to Empire

   2011    Culture
In the third part of his journey into the history of Christianity, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch charts Orthodoxy's extraordinary fight for survival. After its glory days in the eastern Roman Empire, it stood right in the path of Muslim expansion, suffered betrayal by crusading Catholics, was seized by the Russian tsars and faced near-extinction under Soviet communism. MacCulloch visits the greatest collection of early icons in the Sinai desert, a surviving relic of the iconoclastic crisis in Istanbul and Ivan the Terrible's cathedral in Moscow to discover the secret of Orthodoxy's endurance.
Series: A History of Christianity
Human Universe
Human Universe

   2014    History
Out of the Cradle
Out of the Cradle

   2019    History
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial

      History
The Life of Mammals
The Life of Mammals

   2002    Nature
The Toys that Made Us
The Toys that Made Us

   2017    Technology
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece

   2013    History