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The Mating Game
The Nazis, A Warning From History. Episode 6
Pink Floyd: P. U. L. S. E. Live at Earls Court (I)
Earth, the Power of the Planet: Atmosphere
Armenia, the Land of Noah
The Cognitive Tradeoff Hypothesis
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Fascination Coral Reef
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The Story of China Ancestors
Michael Wood embarks on a great historical adventure, exploring the stories, people and landscapes that have helped create China's distinctive character and genius over four thousand years. Is the history of the world's newest superpower, from its ancient past to the present day.
Starting in Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. 'Like the nation, the family has been through so much,' one says. 'Now everyone wants to know - what are our roots?'
Looking for the origins of the Chinese state, he visits the excavations at Erlitou and sees an exquisite turquoise dragon sceptre from 2000 BC. China's first writing is found on 'oracle bones' dug up from the Shang royal tombs at Anyang in the 1920s. At the Beijing Planetarium, Michael travels back in time as astronomers plot the planetary conjunction that the ancients believed foretold the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty. Next, the Age of Philosophers and Confucius, whose book Analects has had greater influence worldwide than even the Bible, according to some. In Xi'an, we hear how the First Emperor united China and created the authoritarian Qin state that gave us the word China. Finally, Michael returns to the temple fair in Henan for a dramatic night ceremony to give thanks to the ancestors. China, Michael concludes, is rising again, not just because of its economic strength, but because of the incredible solidarity of the Han Chinese view of their own civilisation, their sense of family and, of course, the presence of the ancestors.
The Story of China
The Story of India: Beginnings
Through ancient manuscripts and oral tales Michael Wood charts the first human migrations out of Africa. He travels from the tropical backwaters of South India through lost ancient cities in Pakistan to the vibrant landscapes of the Ganges plain. In Turkmenistan dramatic archaeological discoveries cast new light on India’s past.
The Story of India
In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: Son of God
In 335 BC Alexander of Macedonia set off on an expedition to conqueror the world. The voyage of Alexander the Great covered more than 22,000 miles in ten years, from Greece to India and back, through some of the most difficult and unforgiving terrain. Michael Wood was hot on his trail, following, as closely as possible, in the footsteps of Alexander and the army that he drove to achieve the impossible. In this programme: the Lebanese city of Tyre, scene of Alexander's most desperate battle; the Palestinian legend of `Two-Horned Alexander'; and the Egyptian oasis of Siwa, where Alexander was proclaimed pharaoh and son of God.
In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great
Conquistadors: The Conquest of the Incas
Fancisco Pizarro hoped to find great riches in the land of the Inca when he set off on his third voyage to the new world in 1527. Travel back in time with Michael Wood and learn how Pizarro ransomed the life of a king for a room full of gold and silver. Trough letter and drawings from the 16th century and film from modern-day south America, discover this remarkable story of greed, faith, dishonor and valor.
The Golden Age
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!'.
The Story of China
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