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Changing the Script

   2020    History
The written word is so important in everyday life that there can be few more radical acts than forcing an entire nation to learn a new script. Yet that is what happened in Turkey in 1928 when Mustafa Kemal decreed that the Arabic script would be replaced by the letters of the Latin alphabet. Communication with computers using human language is usually made with Latin letters. This is how most Chinese people interact with their computers and smart phones, using a Latin-based phonetic script called Pinyin. As a result, even highly educated Chinese are losing the ability to write using Chinese characters. Could what is happening in China be the future of writing everywhere?
Series: The Secret History of Writing

Humboldt Epic Explorer

   2020    History
In 1799, the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt embarked on a perilous journey of discovery across South America. It would take him to the deepest jungle near the Orinoco and to the heights of the Andes. His aim was twofold: to conduct the first scientific survey of South America and to discover how the natural world actually works — at a time when most scientists believed that the world was created less than 6,000 years ago. He later became a leading scientific figure and champion of the abolitionist movement in the US.
This extremely visual docudrama follows Humboldt’s extraordinary path. Travelling in Humboldt’s footsteps is historian Andrea Wulf, whose book on Humboldt became a worldwide bestseller. For good reason, since Humboldt’s ideas on the planet’s fragile web of life are as important today as they were 220 years ago.

Los Angeles

   2014    Art
Los Angeles' highly influential position in rock history is examined. Pat Smear remembers the days of Germs, and visits legendary KROQ disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, owner of a 1970s Sunset Strip club that became the hub for the Los Angeles glam rock scene. Foo Fighters head to the desert to record their new song 'Outside', which features a solo from Eagles' guitarist Joe Walsh, at Rancho De La Luna, and in turn, Kyuss and the 1990s Palm Desert Scene is explored.
Series: Sonic Highways

Putin Forever

   2020    History
Putin returns to power under a storm after a four-year absence, but his attempts to improve his popularity are hobbled by accusations of corruption. The final part of this sinister history doesn’t quite come up to date with Vladimir Putin’s recent moves to 'reset' the Russian constitution so he can rule, theoretically, until at least 2036 – longer than Stalin. But it does walk us through some of his other moves to entrench power, including vote-rigging in parliamentary elections that was so brazen, his approval ratings fell amid mass street protests. Leading the protests was opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was then simply gunned down on a street near the Kremlin.
These days, we are told, the world stage interests Putin more than the Russian one, and with various 'mini-Putins' installed around the world, his legacy looks safe.
Series: Putin: A Russian Spy Story

Enemies And Traitors

   2020    History
This second instalment looks at how Vladimir Putin arrived in the Kremlin as a vulnerable and unknown president, whom the Russian oligarchs expect to control. The programme reveals how he asserted his hold on power and ultimately surrounded himself with his KGB peers, as well as his philosophy as regards traitors and enemies. The film also examines the stories of businessman Boris Berezovsky and defector Alexander Litvinenko, who both stood up to Putin and wound up dead on British soil.
Series: Putin: A Russian Spy Story
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
Elvis Presley: The Searcher
Elvis Presley: The Searcher

   2018    History
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Capitalism A Love Story
Capitalism A Love Story

   2009    Culture