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The Joy of Mozart

   2015    Art
Tom Service plunges into the life and times of Mozart to try and rediscover the greatness and humanity of the living man in his moment. Mozart's prodigious output and untimely death have helped place him on a pedestal that can often blind us to the unique brilliance of his work in the context of his life and times. Service visits the key cities and rooms in which Mozart lived and worked, plays some of Mozart's original instruments and scores, and gradually uncovers the brilliance and originality of his work." There is the prodigious childhood when Mozart was feted as an infant phenomenon around Europe's most glittering courts, and his golden decade in Vienna in which masterpiece followed masterpiece - operas, symphonies, piano concertos, string quartets - as if this short, high-voiced man-child must have been taking dictation from some divine source, until his death at the age of just 35 in 1791. Even more than the music, Mozart's tragic demise sets the seal on his myth. The trajectory of Mozart's life sets the template for the romantic paradigm whose throes we are still in today, which requires our creative heroes to die young to prove that they were too good for this madding world, whether it be Wolfgang Amadeus or Jimi Hendrix. Service travels from London to Vienna and Salzberg, unpicking the living, breathing genius that was Mozart. With Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nicola Benedetti, Paul Morley and others.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles

   2014    Culture
This documentary looks at the remarkable genius of Orson Welles on his centenary - the enigma of his career as a Hollywood star, a Hollywood director (for some a Hollywood failure), and a crucially important independent filmmaker. Orson Welles's life was magical: a musical prodigy at age 10, a director of Shakespeare at 14, a painter at 16, a star of stage and radio at 20, romances with some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Rita Hayworth. His work was similarly extraordinary, most notably Citizen Kane, (considered by many to be the most important movie ever made), created by Welles when he was only 25. In the years following Citizen Kane, Welles's career continued to change as he made film after film (some never finished, many dismissed) and acted in other projects often to earn money in order to keep making his own films. Magician features scenes from almost every existing Welles film, from Hearts of Age, (which he made in a day when he was only 18 years old) to rarely-seen clips from his final unfinished works like The Other Side of the Dream, The Deep, and Don Quixote, as well as his television and commercial work.

Art of Eternity: Painting Paradise

   2007    Art
How should art depict the relationship between man and God? How can art best express eternal values? Can you and should you portray the face of Christ? For over 1,000 years these were some of the questions which taxed the minds of the greatest artists of the early West. In this three-part series, art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon sets out to unravel the mysteries of art from the pre-perspective era". In the first episode, Andrew traces the beginnings of Christian art in the declining Roman Empire, Egypt and medieval France, and reveals the ideas which lay behind the transition
Series: Art of Eternity

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 Two Thousand Year Old Computer

   2012    History
In 1901, a group of divers excavating an ancient Roman shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, found a mysterious object - a lump of calcified stone that contained within it several gearwheels welded together after years under the sea. The 2,000-year-old object, no bigger than a modern laptop, is now regarded as the world's oldest computer, devised to predict solar eclipses and, according to recent findings, calculate the timing of the ancient Olympics. Following the efforts of an international team of scientists, the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism are uncovered, revealing surprising and awe-inspiring details of the object that continues to mystify
The Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht

   2007    History
Human Planet
Human Planet

   2011    Culture
Life Story
Life Story

   2014    Nature
The Cell
The Cell

   2009    Science
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome

   2006    History
Galapagos with David Attenborough
Galapagos with David Attenborough

   2013    Nature
Wild Russia
Wild Russia

   2009    Nature
Through the Wormhole Season 8
Through the Wormhole Season 8

   2017    Science