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Shangri-La

   2005    History
For centuries, man has yearned for an earthly paradise, and no place better encapsulates this desire than Shangri-La - but was it ever real? The tale of an earthly paradise is among the most enduring myths in the world. From Sumerian epic to the 'islands of the blest' in Celtic literature, it has been a recurring theme through many bodies of literature and for thousands of years. Not surprisingly, then, modern people have also been drawn to the dream of a lost paradise where the ravages of time and history have been held back, where human beings live in harmony with nature, and where the wisdom of the planet is saved for future generations. In other words, to a Shangri-La.
Series: Myths and Heroes

Ape Man: Search for the First Human

   2005    Science
After eight grueling years of hunting in the hot, wind-scoured desert of central Africa, an international team of researchers has uncovered one of the most sensational fossil finds in living memory: the well-preserved 7 million years old skull of a chimp-size animal, probably a male, that doesn't fit any known species. According to paleontologist Michel Brunet of the University of Poitiers in France, whose team reported the find in Nature last week, there is no way it could have been an ape of any kind. It was almost certainly a hominid — a member of a subdivision of the primate family whose only living representative is modern man.

The Roof of the World

   2004    Culture
Leaving Everest base camp to take the high road to Lhasa to see what the Chinese have done to Tibet. He sees that religion is once again tolerated, while the old Tibetan centre of the city is being replaced with modern Chinese shopping malls and nightclubs. Following the pilgrims to the holy Namtso Lake, he gets warm in a hot spring before learning how to milk a yak with a nomad family.
Series: Himalaya with Michael Palin

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

   2004    Art
This award-winning series, Private Life of a Masterpiece, reveals the full and fascinating stories behind famous works of art, not just how they came to be created, but also how they influenced others and came to have a life of their own in the modern world. The works of art featured here are both instantly familiar and profoundly mysterious. Revolutionary in their conception, and iconic years after their execution, they each have their own compelling stories. For behind the beautiful canvases and sculptures are tales of political revolution, wartime escapes, massive ego clashes, social scandal, financial wrangling and shocking violence. In this fascinating series key works of art are investigated and the intricate details of their lives revealed - the history, contemporary reactions, and legacies of each are illustrated.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a popular masterpiece and yet an enduring enigma. It seems to show a quiet scene in a Paris park but there are hints at the demi-monde, if you know where to look. The most remarkable aspect of this vast canvas however remains Seurat's technique his revolutionary pointillism.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

The Third of May 1808

   2004    Art
Arguably the most powerful painting about war ever achieved. It portrays the slaughter of civilians after Napoleonic troops entered Madrid in 1808. The programme reveals the historical truths behind the painting and shows exactly how Goya achieved this masterpiece of protest. he painting's content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a groundbreaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources from both high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era.
According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is 'the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention'. Discover how Goya used drawings by authentic witnesses to depict a real firing squad.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece
The Putin Interviews
The Putin Interviews

   2017    Culture
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
How to Stay Young
How to Stay Young

   2016    Medicine
The Crime of the Century
The Crime of the Century

   2021    Medicine
Inside the World Toughest Prisons
Inside the World Toughest Prisons

   2020    Culture
The Sky at Night
The Sky at Night

   2020    Science
Depeche Mode: Live in Berlin
Depeche Mode: Live in Berlin

   2014    Art
Cosmos: Possible Worlds
Cosmos: Possible Worlds

   2020    Science