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The Ming

   2016    History
The tale of one of China's most famous dynasties begins with the amazing story of Hongwu, a peasant rebel who founded one of greatest eras in Chinese history. The film takes us to his great capital Nanjing, with its 21 miles of walls, each brick stamped with the name of the village that made it. Following the trail, we go to the Bao family village and see the villagers act a Ming murder story. Like many authoritarian states, the Ming were obsessive about architecture. We see the giant fortifications of the Great Wall, the ritual enclaves of the Forbidden City in Beijing and travel with bargeman Mr Hu down the Grand Canal, China's great artery of commerce right up to the present day. We then hear about Admiral Zheng He's voyages to Africa and the Gulf decades before Columbus, watch the construction of an ocean-going wooden boat 250ft long, and hitch a ride on a replica Ming junk in the South China Sea. As state prosperity grew, so did a rising middle class. Wood looks at Ming culture in Suzhou, the 'Venice of China'. Staying in a merchant's house, he discovers the silk, ceramic and lacquer-making industries, and visits one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. Then on to Macao and the arrival of Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, who hoped to convert China to Christianity. In the cathedral in Beijing, we learn more about these fateful exchanges with the west. Finally in Shaoxing, we visit the house of the 'Ming Proust' and at grassroots the Zhao family in Fujian where the film ends in an elegiac mood with the fall of the Ming in 1644.
Series: The Story of China

The Mystical North

   2008    Art
Graham-Dixon reveals how the north of the country has produced some of the most dazzling and iconic art of the modern age. Spain's turbulent history has shaped artists from Francisco Goya to Pablo Picasso. Graham-Dixon argues that Spanish architecture is the art form now taking the nation forward in the new millennium.
Series: Art of Spain

The Revelation of the Pyramids

   2010    History
An apocryphal view on the pyramids, starting in awe at the amazing achievement of the Pharaonic architecture and sculpture, most specially at Gizeh, given Cheops's pyramid's size, weight, incredibly precise carving, four pairs of slightly shifted half sides, stunningly precisely measured shapes and symmetry. Then it questions and challenges conventional Egyptology beliefs, which it calls unproven or even impossible to verify, such as the absence of machines, a wharf duration of only 20 years or accidental equinox-orientation. Next it elaborates the theory that other major pyramid technology sites in Precolombian America, Easter Island and China can't coincidentally lie on two lines intersecting at Gizeh, even if not contemporaneous and without known contacts in their ages, and have several improbable things in common, like some of their cultures. Elaborate mathematical theories and measurements indicate the Egyptians must have known some astronomy, pi and the golden number

Travels with Vasari 1

   2009    Art
On a spectacular journey through Renaissance Italy, Andrew Graham-Dixon searches for the shadowy figure who wrote one of the most important books on art and looks at some dazzling works, including masterpieces of the early Renaissance by Giotto, Masaccio and Donatello. Giorgio Vasari was the grandaddy of all art critics, travelling Italy in the 16th century for his definitive Lives of the Artists. It was a time of miracles that he named 'the Renaissance'.
Series: Travels with Vasari

Travels with Vasari 2

   2009    Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon retraces Vasari's footsteps for this captivating two-part film in a short Art of Italy season. He's an enthusiastic guide, lapsing easily into Italian conversation with the custodians of galleries and chapels who allow him a private view. From Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence to less familiar marvels - a Donatello sculpture; Masaccio frescoes - he illustrates how rapidly ideas developed. A final treat for him - and us - is a tour of the Vasari Corridor, a rarely accessed gallery that zigzags across the Florentine rooftops.
Series: Travels with Vasari
Bronze Age
Bronze Age

   2016    History
Through the Wormhole Season 8
Through the Wormhole Season 8

   2017    Science
The Cell
The Cell

   2009    Science
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History
The Normans
The Normans

   2010    History
Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II

   2017    Nature