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A Necessary Fiction

       History
Octavian takes a new bride, Livia, and then introduces her to his family in a startling way... by having her witness the punishment he metes out to Atia and Octavia, for secretly defying the social constraints established through the facade of Octavia's marriage to Mark Antony. The vengeful Gaia carries out her plan to poison Eirene, which produces most dire consequences for Pullo, and no one else is the wiser.
Meanwhile, Octavian, Antony, Maecenas, and their associates barely maintain their relationships of congenial contempt and hypocrisy, as everyone tries to figure out who has duped whom with the disappearance of the gold that was Herod's 'gift.'
Series: Rome Second Season

The Age of Revolution

   2016    History
Between 1850 and 1950, three cataclysmic revolutions shook China to the core, but out of them, today's China emerged. The film begins in Canton with the meeting of a US missionary and a Chinese student. Inspired by the Christian story and calling himself God's second son, Hong unleashed the bloodiest war of the 19th century, the Taiping Rebellion.
As imperial China weakened, foreign influence grew. Treaty ports expanded, bringing growth and wealth, trams, railways and western sensibilities. But this provoked another surge of violence, the Boxer Rebellion, an attack against the foreigners, which was crushed by those same foreigners, who extorted a huge indemnity - $60 billion in today's money.
Then in 1912, the empire fell, and many groups contested China's future. In World War I, China sent 100,000 men to the western front, only to be humiliated at Versailles when German colonies in China were handed to Japan. Between the two world wars, the disparity between rich and poor, city and countryside increased. We visit Hong Kong's Peninsular Hotel in the jazz age and then follow Mao on the Long March to Yan'an, the heartland of revolution.
World War II came to China two years earlier than it did in the west. Wood talks to a survivor of the Japanese massacre of Nanjing in 1937 and then charts the triumph of the communists, before ending the story with Mao's death and the boom time of the last 30 years. The series ends with the warmth of the Chinese family and, at Beijing's Altar of Heaven, a final haunting glimpse of eternal China.
Series: The Story of China

Death Mask

       History
Inconsolable at the death of Brutus at Philippi, Servilia makes her final bid to gain the ultimate vengeance against Atia. Meanwhile, Eirene and Gaia have a major falling-out, prompting Eirene to demand that Pullo properly chastise the slave. When he does, the dynamic between the two of them changes in a violent and unexpected fashion.
King Herod engages Mark Antony as a reluctant ally by offering a generous gift of 20,000 pounds of gold.
Series: Rome Second Season

The Last Empire

   2016    History
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi. Under the Qing, China doubled in size to include Xinjiang in the far west, as well as Mongolia and Tibet, creating the essential shape of China today. The new dynasty tolerated a diversity of cultures and religions, including Islam. In Kaifeng, Michael visits a women's mosque with a female imam, a delightful scene that ends with laughter and selfies! The Qing also undertook huge cultural enterprises. At a traditional printing house where the wood blocks are hand-carved, we see how the Complete Tang Poems were reproduced - all 48,000 of them. We travel through the wintry countryside to a remote village where a hardy audience watch open-air opera in the snow and visit a painter's studio, and 'storytelling' houses in Yangzhou. In the 18th century, China was arguably the greatest economy in the world, and we get a fabulous sense of the rich culture that came with prosperity. But then came the clash with the British, in the first Opium War, when a British expedition destroyed the Qing navy and extracted territory and trading rights. We leave with a glimpse of the future. 'Every dynasty has risen and declined,' says Michael, 'and has needed new life to regenerate, and this time the catalyst was the British.' Among the ports China ceded was an almost uninhabited island, Hong Kong, one of today's greatest financial centres, and Shanghai, a small town then but now one of the greatest cities in world.
Series: The Story of China

Philippi

       History
Cicero is finally undone by his duplicity in the form of Titus Pullo, acting upon Octavian's request to assassinate all supporters of Brutus in Rome. Pullo and Vorenus enjoy a happy if counterfeit outing with their families in the countryside to hide their assassin mission.
Vorena the Elder's dangerous dalliance with one of Mimeo's men continues, and the torrid affair between Octavia and Agrippa escalates. Atia's casual cruelty to ask for the assassination of people she doesn't like results in complete disaster for Octavia's friend Jocasta.
Series: Rome Second Season
The Secrets of Quantum Physics
The Secrets of Quantum Physics

   2014    Science
Natural World
Natural World

   2017    Nature
Conquest of the Skies
Conquest of the Skies

   2015    Nature
Conversations with Dolphins
Conversations with Dolphins

   2016    Science
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome

   2006    History
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing

   2011    Science
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture