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The Last Empire

   2016    History
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.
Series: The Story of China

The life of Buddha

   2003    History
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.

The Normans: Normans of the South

   2010    History
Professor Robert Bartlett explores the impact of the Normans on southern Europe and the Middle East. The Normans spread south in the 11th century, winning control of southern Italy and the island of Sicily. There they created their most prosperous kingdom, where Christianity and Islam co-existed in relative harmony and mutual tolerance. It became a great centre of medieval culture and learning. But events in the Middle East provoked the more aggressive side of the Norman character. In 1095, the Normans enthusiastically answered the Pope's call for holy war against Islam and joined the first crusade. They lay siege to Jerusalem and eventually helped win back the holy city from the muslims. This bloody conquest left a deep rift between Christianity and Islam which is still being felt to this day.

The Power of Miracles

   2016    Culture
In the last episode of the series, Freeman examines different faiths' views on miracles, meeting a man who survived falling 47 storeys and a cancer patient who believes his illness can be cured by prayer.
Series: The Story of God

The Real Garden of Eden

   2011    Culture
Can we find the Garden of Eden? Bible scholar Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou thinks so. In the final episode of her series re-examining conventional readings of the Bible, she argues that the Garden of Eden has nothing to do with the origins of humanity, but is rather a story concealing dramatic events about a particular figure in a particular place, two and half thousand years ago. Marshalling compelling evidence from archaeology, Islam and the Bible text itself, she identifies and visits the exact site of Eden. It's a revolutionary theory which challenges some of the most cherished preconceptions about Eden in both Christianity and western culture.
Series: Bible's Buried Secrets
The Brain with David Eagleman
The Brain with David Eagleman

   2015    Medicine
The Gene Code
The Gene Code

   2011    Science
Wild South America
Wild South America

   2005    Nature
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Science
Cosmos
Cosmos

   1980    Science
Mind Field
Mind Field

   2019    Medicine
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Our Planet
Our Planet

   2019    Nature