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Simply the Best Documentaries

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Our Voyage to the Stars
Did a Black Hole Build the Milky Way
The Great Burden
First Second of the Big Bang
The End of the Universe
Diving into the Unknown
The Nazis, A Warning From History. Episode 3
Smashing the Mould
Does the Ocean Think
Atom: The Clash of Titans
Blood Of The Vikings: The Sea Road
Shangri-La
Life of a Universe End of Days
Weapons of Mass Extinction
The Day they Dropped the Bomb
The Real Garden of Eden
Mighty Amazon
Amazing Africa
Planet Earth II Islands
Africa Fishing Leopards
Life After People
Secretive Creatures
Virunga
A.I. and the Destiny of Mankind
Is God an Alien Concept
Enchanted Kingdom
Picasso
The Cities
Walking with Cavemen: First Ancestors
Citizenfour
The Birth of Israel
Underwater Universe of the Orda Cave
Inequality for All
The Code: Shapes
The Clash of Titans
The Great Levelling

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Caligula
Caligula  2013

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.

Category:History  Duration:59:00   

The life of Buddha
The life of Buddha 2003

Life of the Buddha is a major new landmark documentary following Buddha on his journey from the lap of luxury to the verge of starvation and final enlightenment. Shot on location in Nepal and India, Life of the Buddha uses dramatic computer-generated images and recent archaeological discoveries to piece together this remarkable story.

Category:History  Duration:50:00   

Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Mine
Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Mine 2013

This new feature-length biographical film tells the extraordinary and dramatic story of the planet's most famous living scientist, told for the first time in his own words and by those closest to him. Made with unique access to his private life, this is an intimate and moving journey into Stephen Hawking's past and present. Interviewees include Stephen Hawking's sister Mary, his ex-wife Jane, carers and students, as well as colleagues such as Roger Penrose, plus Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Jim Carrey, and Sir Richard Branson This inspirational portrait of an iconic figure relates Hawking's incredible personal journey from boyhood underachiever to scientific genius and multi-million-selling author. And it charts how he overcame being diagnosed with motor neurone disease - and being given just two years to live - to make amazing scientific discoveries and become a symbol of triumph over adversity. Born exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo, Hawking grew up in a family some regarded as eccentric. Always asking questions, he was nicknamed 'Einstein' at school. Hawking blossomed at Oxford, although he only spent an hour a day studying. He noticed that he was becoming clumsy and fell over for no apparent reason. He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, but nevertheless started a family and embarked on his academic career, finding himself at the heart of a searing scientific debate about the origins of the universe. And as he lost the use of his body, Hawking had to find new ways to think. He went on to write the huge bestseller A Brief History of Time, and the film reveals the high and lows of his resulting fame and fortune.

Category:History  Duration:89:00   

Ancient Rome: Caesar
Ancient Rome: Caesar 2006

This programme focuses on the most famous Roman of all - Caesar. Charming, savage, power-crazed, opportunistic and brilliant, he overthrew a 500-year-old Republic and began the age of the emperors.

Category:History  Duration:58:52   Series: Ancient Rome

 
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