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Age of Empire

   2012    History
Andrew Marr tells the story of the first empires which laid the foundations for the modern world. From the Assyrians to Alexander the Great, conquerors rampaged across the Middle East and vicious wars were fought all the way from China to the Mediterranean. But this time of chaos and destruction also brought enormous progress and inspired human development. In the Middle East, the Phoenicians invented the alphabet, and one of the most powerful ideas in world history emerged: the belief in just one God. In India, the Buddha offered a radical alternative to empire building - a way of living that had no place for violence or hierarchy and was open to everyone. Great thinkers from Socrates to Confucius proposed new ideas about how to rule more wisely and live in a better society. And in Greece, democracy was born - the greatest political experiment of all. But within just a few years, its future would be under threat from invasion by an empire in the east...
Series: History of the World

Ascension

   2021    Culture
The absorbingly cinematic Ascension explores the pursuit of the 'Chinese Dream.' This observational documentary presents a contemporary vision of China that prioritizes productivity and innovation above all. Behind all, the ideology used in China to acquire acquiescence from the lower class workers in the factories, restaurants, resorts, etc who are sold a dream of one day being able to join the elite classes if they work hard enough.
Almost mesmerizing with its cinematography, akin to the dreams of consumerism and the narratives of wealth that are being sold to the underclass workers, the film nicely illustrates the Chinese economy of the present.

Asia and Australia

   2012    Nature
In this bird's-eye view of two continents, demoiselle cranes negotiate a dangerous Himalayan pass on their way to India while high-flying bar-headed geese take the fast track five miles above. In Rajasthan, vultures watch hunting tigers hoping for a meal and pigeons visit a temple dedicated solely to sacred rats. Pigeons are also our guide to the greatest gatherings of camels on Earth and learn to dodge buzzards around the battlements of Jodhpur Fort. 9,000 cranes overwinter in the most unlikely of spots - a barbed wire compound in the centre of a desert town. In Australia, rainbow lorikeets drop in on Sydney and patrol Australia's Gold Coast. In the outback, white cockatoos swirl in thousands and budgerigars pass Uluru (Ayers Rock) and gather in the biggest flocks ever recorded. In China, swallows and swifts visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City of Beijing. In Japan, the country's most revered birds - Japanese cranes are fed fish by appreciative locals and are joined in strange, momentary harmony by hungry red foxes, white-tailed eagles and Steller's eagles. As peace descends, Japanese cranes dance beautifully in the snow.
Series: Earthflight

Boko Haram and Unnatural Selection

   2015    Culture
The terrorist group Boko Haram is responsible for thousands of deaths in Nigeria. Now, the government is determined to drive these militants from the country. But is the hunt for insurgents causing as much harm as it's preventing? Former Navy SEAL and new VICE correspondent Kaj Larsen travels to Nigeria to see what this cat-and-mouse game means for the people caught in the middle of the fight. 'Unnatural Selection': For centuries, scientists have been working to change the genetic traits of plants and animals. Now, the new gene-editing method CRISPR has made that process astonishingly simple - so simple it could easily be used on humans. Isobel Yeung reports from Brazil, Scotland, China and the U.S. on the technological advances that could reshape evolution as we know it.

Catastrophe and Annihilation

   2021    History
After more than a century of civil war, Toyotomi Hideyoshi has united Japan. His rivals have either sworn their allegiance, or they have been destroyed. Despite this fledgling peace, Hideyoshi now dreams of a bold and outlandish plan to make himself the most powerful man in Asia. He plans to expand his reign to China. Logistical challenges and fierce operation in Korea prove to be costly.
Series: Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan

Changing the Script

   2020    History
The written word is so important in everyday life that there can be few more radical acts than forcing an entire nation to learn a new script. Yet that is what happened in Turkey in 1928 when Mustafa Kemal decreed that the Arabic script would be replaced by the letters of the Latin alphabet. Communication with computers using human language is usually made with Latin letters. This is how most Chinese people interact with their computers and smart phones, using a Latin-based phonetic script called Pinyin. As a result, even highly educated Chinese are losing the ability to write using Chinese characters. Could what is happening in China be the future of writing everywhere?
Series: The Secret History of Writing
The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century

2021  Medicine
How Earth Made Us

How Earth Made Us

2010  Culture
Our Planet

Our Planet

2019  Nature
Earthflight

Earthflight

2012  Nature
Minimalism

Minimalism

2015  Culture