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Simply the Best Documentaries

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Zeitgeist The Movie
The Rivers
Chased by Sea Monsters 1of3
The Day they Dropped the Bomb
How to Grow a Planet Life from Light
Dinosaurs Alive
Artic
The Challenger
Jungles
The Power Of The Placebo
Florence and the Uffizi Gallery
Tiny Giants
The Clash of Titans
Which Universe Are We In
Titanic 100 Years
Night Will Fall
Rescue
Blood Of The Vikings: Last of the Vikings
Einstein Biggest Blunder
The Incredible Human Journey: America
Monkey Kingdom
Exploit
Sharks
Children 404
Who Is Afraid of a Big Black Hole
Atlantis End of a World Birth of a Legend
Art of Spain: The Dark Heart
Bears
Did God Have a Wife
Hermitage Revealed
The Ivory Game
Snake Killers Honey Badgers of The Kalahari
CTRL
Africa the Greatest Show on Earth
Dolphins and Whales
Operation Stonehenge

Order by   Views  Year  New Added  Featured  Title

Shangri-La
Shangri-La 2005

For centuries, man has yearned for an earthly paradise, and no place better encapsulates this desire than Shangri-La - but was it ever real? The tale of an earthly paradise is among the most enduring myths in the world. From Sumerian epic to the 'islands of the blest' in Celtic literature, it has been a recurring theme through many bodies of literature and for thousands of years. Not surprisingly, then, modern people have also been drawn to the dream of a lost paradise where the ravages of time and history have been held back, where human beings live in harmony with nature, and where the wisdom of the planet is saved for future generations. In other words, to a Shangri-La.

Category:History  Duration:60:00   Series: Myths and Heroes

The Story of China Ancestors
The Story of China Ancestors 2016

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.

Category:History  Duration:59:00   Series: The Story of China

The Last Empire
The Last Empire 2016

China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi. Under the Qing, China doubled in size to include Xinjiang in the far west, as well as Mongolia and Tibet, creating the essential shape of China today. The new dynasty tolerated a diversity of cultures and religions, including Islam. In Kaifeng, Michael visits a women's mosque with a female imam, a delightful scene that ends with laughter and selfies! The Qing also undertook huge cultural enterprises. At a traditional printing house where the wood blocks are hand-carved, we see how the Complete Tang Poems were reproduced - all 48,000 of them. We travel through the wintry countryside to a remote village where a hardy audience watch open-air opera in the snow and visit a painter's studio, and 'storytelling' houses in Yangzhou. In the 18th century, China was arguably the greatest economy in the world, and we get a fabulous sense of the rich culture that came with prosperity. But then came the clash with the British, in the first Opium War, when a British expedition destroyed the Qing navy and extracted territory and trading rights. We leave with a glimpse of the future. 'Every dynasty has risen and declined,' says Michael, 'and has needed new life to regenerate, and this time the catalyst was the British.' Among the ports China ceded was an almost uninhabited island, Hong Kong, one of today's greatest financial centres, and Shanghai, a small town then but now one of the greatest cities in world.

Category:History  Duration:59:00   Series: The Story of China

 
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