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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

Man-Eating Tigers of the Sundarbans

   2009    Nature
The Sundarbans mangrove forest, in Bangladesh near the Indian border, is a tidal jungle where Ganges and Brahmaputra enter the Indian Ocean. Its has some 400 Bengal tigers - the largest population in the world, and the only to be hardly scared of men. The downside is tigers kill up the 50 Bangladeshis a year, even from neighbouring villages, so keeping them inside the reserve is key to long-term survival.
A recent project tries to train local mongrels, not pets but fiercely self-reliant dogs, to spot and even scare off tigers from villages. An individual tiger can turn into a man-eater in order to survive - this process may occur due to an injury or old age (and so cannot hunt agile prey) or even accidentally tasting human flesh.
Series: Natural World

Man First Friend

   2018    Culture
We call them 'man’s best friend', but their story is almost as old as man himself. Our very first friend in the world, they have walked by our side for over 20,000 years, helping us to hunt for food and offering us companionship and protection. Man’s First Friend is an epic new primetime documentary event that combines natural history, science and anthropology to explore the enduring relationship between humankind and dogs, how the two species have co-evolved together, where did they come from to take such a prominent position in our lives, and how did we learn to harness their unique talents.
The film takes viewers on an extraordinary journey through some of the most remote locations in the world to answers these questions and more. It highlights what dogs are capable of: from the Pariah dog in India who protects her owner’s banana plantations from daily attacks by Black-headed Monkeys; to Kenyan Bloodhounds trained to track ivory poachers. Dogs comfort us, relieving loneliness and helping us cope with old age.

Zambezi

   2011    Nature
Africa's wildest river is home to the most spectacular wildlife. Hippos fight for territory while herds of elephant, water buffalo and zebra depend on it for life. In the wet season the rains burst the riverbanks and everyone, including people, must move whilst fish swim through the villages. In the dry season the creatures fight over the few pools of water while predators prowl. At its heart it plunges over Victoria Falls and into wild ravines before draining into the Indian Ocean, where storm clouds cycle the water back into the heart of Africa.
Series: Natural World

Rats

   2016    Culture
The film goes deep beneath the surface to explore the lives of man's greatest parasite. Morgan Spurlock unveils a new form of documentary horror storytelling, journeying around the world to bring viewers face to face with rats while delving into our complicated relationship with these creepy creatures. Taking us into the rats nests in ways never before captured on film, RATS dives deep into New York City's parks, subway tunnels, and sewers; venture to rice paddies in Cambodia and Vietnam where rats are caught and sold as food, cross worldly streets in India paroled by the revered Night Rat Killers, journey to English countryside where packs of terriers kill hundreds of rats per day, and look inside a New Orleans lab, where scientists are studying how flooding and abandoned neighbourhoods are making rats more invasive than ever.
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Dynamic Genomes Series
Dynamic Genomes Series

   2019    Medicine
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle

   2018    History
The Beauty of Maps
The Beauty of Maps

   2010    Art
The Virtual Revolution
The Virtual Revolution

   2010    Technology
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture