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Silk Roads and China Ships

   2016    History
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From the picturesque old city of Luoyang, he travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China. This tale is still loved by the Chinese today and is brought to life by storytellers, films and shadow puppet plays. Then in the backstreets and markets of Xi'an, Michael meets descendants of the traders from central Asia and Persia who came into China on the Silk Road. He talks to Chinese Muslims in the Great Mosque and across town hears the amazing story of the first reception of Christianity in 635. Moving south, Michael sees the beginnings of China as an economic giant. On the Grand Canal, a lock built in 605 still handles 800 barges every day! The film tracks the rise of the silk industry and the world's favourite drink - tea. Michael looks too at the spread of Chinese script, language and culture across east Asia. 'China's influence on the East was as profound as Rome on the Latin West', he says, 'and still is today'. Finally, the film tells the intense drama of the fall of the Tang. Among the eyewitnesses were China's greatest poets. In a secondary school in a dusty village, where the Chinese Shakespeare - Du Fu - is buried in the grounds, the pupils take Michael through one famous poem about loss and longing as the dynasty falls. And in that ordinary classroom, there is a sense of the amazing drama and the deep-rooted continuities of Chinese culture.
Series: The Story of China

Blood Of The Vikings: Rulers

   2001    History
Julian Richards recalls how, after years of raiding, England's resistance was so weakened that, in the early 11th century, the Vikings were finally able to seize the throne. In other parts of the British Isles however, they gained and maintained power by integration.
Series: Blood of the Vikings

Blood Of The Vikings: The Sea Road

   2001    History
Julian Richards investigates the impact of the Vikings in Britain. This edition focuses on the archaeological trail left by the Vikings as they travelled from Norway along the sea road to Dublin. Settlements, a boat burial and evidence of trading have been discovered on the Scottish isles, and silver hoards found in Ireland suggest that Dublin was not only wealthy and important, but also a centre for trade in slaves.
Series: Blood of the Vikings

Blood Of The Vikings: Last of the Vikings

   2001    History
In the last of the series, Julian Richards uncovers new information from the battle in 1066 between Viking warlord Harald Hardrada and King Harold of England that marked the end of the Viking age in Britain. Results from a nationwide genetic survey show where in Britain the Vikings left a measurable contribution.
Series: Blood of the Vikings

Blood Of The Vikings: Invasion

   2001    History
In AD 856, a massive fleet of Viking ships appeared off the coast of East Anglia, heralding a change in Viking tactics - from raiding to invasion. Richards charts the years of attempted conquest that followed.
Series: Blood of the Vikings

The Golden Age

   2016    History
This episode tells the tale of what's broadly considered China's most creative dynasty - the Song (960-1279). Michael Wood heads to the city of Kaifeng, the greatest city in the world before the 19th century. Here in Twin Dragon Alley, locals tell him the legend of the baby boys who became emperors.
He explores the ideas and inventions that made the Song one of greatest eras in world culture, helped by China's most famous work of art, the Kaifeng scroll, which shows the life of the city in around 1120. A chef makes Michael a recipe from a Song cookbook, while a guide to 'how to live happy, healthy lives for old people', published in 1085 and still in print, is discussed with local women doing their morning exercises. The Song was also a great era for scientific advance in China. Michael steers a huge working replica of an astronomical clock, made by China's Leonardo da Vinci.
Then at a crunch Chinese Premier League match, Michael tells us the Chinese invented football! The golden age of the northern Song ended in 1127, when invaders sacked Kaifeng, but they survived in the south. At their new capital, Hangzhou, Wood joins locals dancing by the West Lake, while in the countryside he meets Mr Xie with his records of 40 generations of ancestors. The final defeat of the Song took place in a naval battle in the estuary of the Pearl River in 1279. When all was lost, rather than surrender to the Mongols, a loyal minister jumped into the sea with the young boy emperor in his arms. 'So ended the glory of the Song', Wood concludes, 'but a new age would arise... as in China, it always has!'.
Series: The Story of China
The Lost Pirate Kingdom

The Lost Pirate Kingdom

2021  History
The Truth About

The Truth About

2018  Medicine
War of the Century

War of the Century

2005  History
Planet Earth

Planet Earth

2007  Nature
The Story of the Jews

The Story of the Jews

2013  History
Top Gear

Top Gear

2012  Technology