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The Story of China Ancestors

   2016    History
Michael Wood embarks on a great historical adventure, exploring the stories, people and landscapes that have helped create China's distinctive character and genius over four thousand years. Is the history of the world's newest superpower, from its ancient past to the present day.
Starting in Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. 'Like the nation, the family has been through so much,' one says. 'Now everyone wants to know - what are our roots?'
Looking for the origins of the Chinese state, he visits the excavations at Erlitou and sees an exquisite turquoise dragon sceptre from 2000 BC. China's first writing is found on 'oracle bones' dug up from the Shang royal tombs at Anyang in the 1920s. At the Beijing Planetarium, Michael travels back in time as astronomers plot the planetary conjunction that the ancients believed foretold the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty. Next, the Age of Philosophers and Confucius, whose book Analects has had greater influence worldwide than even the Bible, according to some. In Xi'an, we hear how the First Emperor united China and created the authoritarian Qin state that gave us the word China. Finally, Michael returns to the temple fair in Henan for a dramatic night ceremony to give thanks to the ancestors. China, Michael concludes, is rising again, not just because of its economic strength, but because of the incredible solidarity of the Han Chinese view of their own civilisation, their sense of family and, of course, the presence of the ancestors.
Series: The Story of China

Heavenly Destruction

   2014    History
Sodom and Gomorrah, a tale of two cities incinerated by a hail of fire and brimstone. Is this a fantastic fable, or could it be a near apocalyptic disaster from space? In this episode, we will check into the mysteries relating to the destruction of both cities. Were they astronomical events?
Newly discovered evidence might hold the secrets to one of the Bible's greatest mysteries.
Series: The Universe Season 7

Reformation

   2011    History
In the fourth part of the series, Diarmaid MacCulloch makes sense of the Reformation, and of how a faith based on obedience and authority gave birth to one based on individual conscience. He shows how Martin Luther wrote hymns to teach people the message of the Bible, and how a tasty sausage became the rallying cry for Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli to tear down statues of saints, allow married clergy and deny that communion bread and wine were the body and blood of Christ.
Series: A History of Christianity

Creation

   2016    Culture
In the fourth episode, Morgan Freeman examines how different faiths see the creation of the world, taking him on a journey to the Vatican, Cairo and the jungles of Guatemala.
Series: The Story of God

The Virus of Faith

   2006    Culture
Dawkins opines that the moral framework of religions is warped, and argues against the religious indoctrination of children. He discusses specifically the idea of religion seen as a virus in the sense of a meme. He begins by explaining how a child is genetically programmed to believe without questioning the word of authority figures, especially parents – the evolutionary imperative being that no child would survive by adopting a sceptical attitude towards everything their elders said. But this same imperative, he claims, leaves children open to infection by religion.
Series: The Root of All Evil
Life
Life

   2009    Nature
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
Power of Art
Power of Art

   2006    Art
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
The Crime of the Century
The Crime of the Century

   2021    Medicine
The Story of the Jews
The Story of the Jews

   2013    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History