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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

Planet Earth II Cities

   2016    Nature    HD
Cities are growing at a faster rate than any other habitat on Earth. They may seem an unlikely place for animals to thrive, but they can be a world of surprising opportunity. Leopards prowl the streets of Mumbai, peregrine falcons hunt amongst New York's skyscrapers, and a million starlings perform spectacular aerial dances over Rome. In Jodhpur, langurs are revered as religious deities and in Harar, locals live in harmony with wild hyenas. Many animals, however, struggle to cope in the urban jungle. As the architects of this environment, can humans choose to build cities that are homes for both them and wildlife?
Series: Planet Earth II

Born in the Purple

   2016    History
This stylish mix of documentary and historical epic chronicles the reign of Commodus, the emperor whose rule marked the beginning of Rome's fall. In the first episode, the death of Marcus Aurelius brings a century of Roman triumphs and victories to an end, transferring power to his spoiled, unprepared son Commodus. When his father bequeaths him the world's mightiest empire, he is forced to spill the blood of both friends and enemies alike to keep his crown.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

The Making of an Emperor

   2016    History
In the second episode of the series, the Germanic tribes strike as Marcus Aurelius succumbs to disease, leaving a skeptical Emperor Commodus to prosecute a war that doesn't interest him.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

Enemy of the Senate

   2016    History
In the third episode of the series, Commodus rises to power as Rome's new emperor, but not everyone supports his ascent. Among those conspiring against him: his older sister Lucilla.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens

   2014    Culture
Clash of the Gods
Clash of the Gods

   2009    History
Dinosaur Planet
Dinosaur Planet

   2003    Science
Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur

   2011    Science
The Cell
The Cell

   2009    Science
Earth, the Power of the Planet
Earth, the Power of the Planet

   2007    Nature