Last Watched

The Third of May 1808

   2004    Art
Arguably the most powerful painting about war ever achieved. It portrays the slaughter of civilians after Napoleonic troops entered Madrid in 1808. The programme reveals the historical truths behind the painting and shows exactly how Goya achieved this masterpiece of protest. he painting's content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a groundbreaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources from both high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era.
According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is 'the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention'. Discover how Goya used drawings by authentic witnesses to depict a real firing squad.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

The Lost Gardens of Babylon

   2014    History
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Garden of Babylon is the most elusive of these constructions of classical antiquity. While traces have been found of the Great Pyramid of Gaza, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, centuries of digging have turned up nothing about the lost gardens of Babylon – until now.
Why, in the nearly 3,000 years since the gardens were presumably built, has no archeological evidence ever been found to support their existence? Is the Hanging Garden of Babylon a myth or a mystery to be solved?
Travel with Dr. Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University’s Oriental Institute and author of The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon, to one of the most dangerous places on earth, as she sets out to answer these questions and prove not only that the gardens did exist, but also identify where they most likely were located, describe what they looked like and explain how they were constructed.
Series: Secrets of the Dead

Shine a Light 2of2

   2008    Art
Scorsese filmed the Rolling Stones at the Beacon Theatre on October 29 and November 1, 2006, but the performance footage used in the film is all from the second show. The concert footage is preceded by a brief semi-fictionalized introduction about the preparations for the shows, and is intercut with historical news clips and archival interviews with band members. The film takes its title from the song of the same name, featured on the band's 1972 album Exile on Main St. A soundtrack album was released in April 2008
Series: Shine a Light

Fight for the Future

       Nature
Having explained the science behind global warming, and addressed the arguments of the climate change sceptics earlier in the series, Dr Iain Stewart concludes the series by looking at the biggest challenge now facing climate scientists - Just how can they predict exactly what changes global warming will bring?
It's a journey that takes him from early attempts to model the climate system with dishpans, to supercomputers, and to the frontline of climate research today: Greenland. Most worryingly he discovers that scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that their models are actually underestimating the speed of changes already underway.
Series: The Climate Wars

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

   2004    Art
This award-winning series, Private Life of a Masterpiece, reveals the full and fascinating stories behind famous works of art, not just how they came to be created, but also how they influenced others and came to have a life of their own in the modern world. The works of art featured here are both instantly familiar and profoundly mysterious. Revolutionary in their conception, and iconic years after their execution, they each have their own compelling stories. For behind the beautiful canvases and sculptures are tales of political revolution, wartime escapes, massive ego clashes, social scandal, financial wrangling and shocking violence. In this fascinating series key works of art are investigated and the intricate details of their lives revealed - the history, contemporary reactions, and legacies of each are illustrated.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a popular masterpiece and yet an enduring enigma. It seems to show a quiet scene in a Paris park but there are hints at the demi-monde, if you know where to look. The most remarkable aspect of this vast canvas however remains Seurat's technique his revolutionary pointillism.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece
The Toys that Made Us
The Toys that Made Us

   2017    Technology
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

   2014    Science
Vegan
Vegan

   2019    Culture
Magic Numbers
Magic Numbers

   2018    Science
Lost Kingdoms of South America
Lost Kingdoms of South America

   2013    History
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
A History of Christianity
A History of Christianity

   2011    History
The Making of the Mob
The Making of the Mob

   2016    History