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Birth of the British Novel

   2011    Art
Author Henry Hitchings explores the lives and works of Britain's radical and pioneering 18th-century novelists who, in just 80 years, established all the literary genres we recognise today. It was a golden age of creativity led by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney and William Godwin, amongst others. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy are novels that still sparkle with audacity and innovation. On his journey through 18th-century fiction, Hitchings reveals how the novel was more than mere entertainment, it was also a subversive hand-grenade that would change British society for the better. He travels from the homes of Britain's great and good to its lowliest prisons, meeting contemporary writers like Martin Amis, Will Self, Tom McCarthy and Jenny Uglow on the way.

Libraries Gave Us Power

   2012    Art
The story of the British Library's Royal Manuscripts collection reaches its end with the last great flowering of illumination, in the magnificent courts of the Tudors. Dr Janina Ramirez investigates astrological texts created for Henry VII, and unwraps his will - still in its original, extravagantly-decorated velvet and gold cover. She hears music written for Henry VIII, which went unperformed for centuries; and reads love notes between the king and Anne Boleyn, written in the margins of a prayer book. Nina also visits Bruges, the source of many of the greatest manuscripts, where this medieval art form collided with the artistic innovations of the Renaissance.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings

Once Upon a Time

   2006    Art
The power of visual storytelling is not a modern phenomenon, feature films today are using techniques developed way back in the distant past. For thousands of years, artists grappled with ways to bring their stories alive, to engage their audience. This is the story of how our ancient ancestors made the discoveries that have given films such a hold over our imaginations.
Series: How Art Made the World

Ruling by the Book

   2012    Art
Dr Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of illuminated manuscripts that were custom-made for kings and explores the medieval world they reveal. 'Ruling by the Book.' Janina begins her journey with the first Anglo-Saxon rulers to create a united England, encountering books in the British Library's Royal manuscripts collection which are over a thousand years old and a royal family tree which is five metres long.
Janina finds out about a king who had a reputation for chasing nuns and reads a book created as a wedding gift for a ten-year-old prince. She roams from Westminster Abbey to other ancient English spiritual sites such as Winchester, St Albans and Malmesbury, and sees for herself how animal skins can be transformed into the finest vellum.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings

The Truth About Wonder Woman

   2017    Art
Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history. The history of her creation seven decades ago has been hidden away—until now.
A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origins of one of the world's most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story-and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism. Take a look at the very unconventional lives of the man and women who created this iconic pop culture figure.
Series: Secret History of Comics
Human: The World Within

Human: The World Within

2021  Medicine
Heavens Gate

Heavens Gate

2020  Culture
The Human Body

The Human Body

1998  Medicine
Building Giants

Building Giants

2019  Technology
Human: The World Within

Human: The World Within

2021  Medicine
Invisible Worlds

Invisible Worlds

2010  Science