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Simply the Best Documentaries

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Deep Earth
That Sugar Film
Under the Electric Sky
Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice
Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here
Who Will We Be
Life Rocky Start
Room 237
Ballet 422
The Incredible Human Journey: Europe
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Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
The Great European Disaster Movie
Capitalism A Love Story 1of2
The True Cost
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Enemy of the Senate
The Lost Tribes of Humanity
Ivory Tower
Operation Condor
The Eagle Huntress
Great Plains
Great Plains
Banking on Bitcoin
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The Fourth Phase
Tiny Giants
Earth, the Power of the Planet: Atmosphere
Robots
The Most Dangerous Band in the World. The Story of Guns N Roses
Through the Wormhole Season 6: Are We Here for a Reason
The life of Buddha
Secretive Creatures
The Chemistry of Life
Life Cycles

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The Golden Age
The Golden Age 2016

This episode tells the tale of what's broadly considered China's most creative dynasty - the Song (960-1279). Michael Wood heads to the city of Kaifeng, the greatest city in the world before the 19th century. Here in Twin Dragon Alley, locals tell him the legend of the baby boys who became emperors. He explores the ideas and inventions that made the Song one of greatest eras in world culture, helped by China's most famous work of art, the Kaifeng scroll, which shows the life of the city in around 1120. A chef makes Michael a recipe from a Song cookbook, while a guide to 'how to live happy, healthy lives for old people', published in 1085 and still in print, is discussed with local women doing their morning exercises. The Song was also a great era for scientific advance in China. Michael steers a huge working replica of an astronomical clock, made by China's Leonardo da Vinci. Then at a crunch Chinese Premier League match, Michael tells us the Chinese invented football! The golden age of the northern Song ended in 1127, when invaders sacked Kaifeng, but they survived in the south. At their new capital, Hangzhou, Wood joins locals dancing by the West Lake, while in the countryside he meets Mr Xie with his records of 40 generations of ancestors. The final defeat of the Song took place in a naval battle in the estuary of the Pearl River in 1279. When all was lost, rather than surrender to the Mongols, a loyal minister jumped into the sea with the young boy emperor in his arms. 'So ended the glory of the Song', Wood concludes, 'but a new age would arise... as in China, it always has!'.

Category:History  Duration:   Series: The Story of China

 
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