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What is the World Made of

   2010    History
In this episode, Michael demonstrates how our society is built on our search to find the answer to what makes up everything in the material world. This is a story that moves from the secret labs of the alchemists and their search for gold by the stone of the philosophers to the creation of the world's first synthetic dye - Purple - and onto the invention of the transistor. This quest may seem abstract and highly theoretical. Yet it has delivered the greatest impact on humanity. By trying to answer this question, scientists have created theories from elements to atoms, and the strange concepts of quantum physics that underpin our modern, technological world.
Series: The Story of Science

TT3D Closer to the Edge

   2011    Culture    3D
By vividly recounting the TT's legendary rivalries and the Isle of Man's unique road racing history, this 3D feature documentary will discover why modern TT riders still risk their lives to win the world's most dangerous race. The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy is the greatest motorcycle road race in the world, the ultimate challenge for rider and machine. It has always called for a commitment far beyond any other racing event, and many have made the ultimate sacrifice in their quest for victory. A story about freedom of choice, the strength of human spirit and the will to win. It's also an examination of what motivates those rare few, this elite band of brothers who risk everything to win.

The Last Empire

   2016    History
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi. Under the Qing, China doubled in size to include Xinjiang in the far west, as well as Mongolia and Tibet, creating the essential shape of China today. The new dynasty tolerated a diversity of cultures and religions, including Islam. In Kaifeng, Michael visits a women's mosque with a female imam, a delightful scene that ends with laughter and selfies! The Qing also undertook huge cultural enterprises. At a traditional printing house where the wood blocks are hand-carved, we see how the Complete Tang Poems were reproduced - all 48,000 of them. We travel through the wintry countryside to a remote village where a hardy audience watch open-air opera in the snow and visit a painter's studio, and 'storytelling' houses in Yangzhou. In the 18th century, China was arguably the greatest economy in the world, and we get a fabulous sense of the rich culture that came with prosperity. But then came the clash with the British, in the first Opium War, when a British expedition destroyed the Qing navy and extracted territory and trading rights. We leave with a glimpse of the future. 'Every dynasty has risen and declined,' says Michael, 'and has needed new life to regenerate, and this time the catalyst was the British.' Among the ports China ceded was an almost uninhabited island, Hong Kong, one of today's greatest financial centres, and Shanghai, a small town then but now one of the greatest cities in world.
Series: The Story of China

Steve Jobs Man in the Machine

   2015    History
Directed by Alex Gibney, it follows the life and work of ex-Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Gibney starts the doc by showing how much people around the world worship Steve Jobs as if he were an idol. He then provides you with a wealth of background information about Jobs' childhood, teenage and college years including how he formed Apple Inc. Fortunately, not all of the doc is hagiography because Gibney does briefly delve into the darker side of Jobs, particularly how selfish he was and mistreated those around him including his ex-wife. Jobs comes across as a charming, intelligent narcissist who knows how to captivate an audience whenever he speaks. In other words, like all great narcissists, he's a very good actor. Gibney certainly knows how to choose the right subject because Jobs' complexity makes him all the more captivating and worthy of a feature-length film. As is usually the case with Gibney's docs, this one is slickly-edited and has just the right amount of comic relief, mostly in the brief video of an young boy joyfully lists all of Apple's technological devices that Steve Jobs created. You'll catch a glimpse of what makes Jobs fallible, and find a little mildly provocative food for thought about the advancement of modern technology, i.e. how technology helps to connect us to one another yet alienates us at the same time.

The God Delusion

   2006    Culture
Atheist and scientist Richard Dawkins visits England, America and Israel interveiwing prominant people of faith; Islamic, Hasidic Jews, and the new Christian sects popping up throughout the world, and expressing his view of the extent to which this fanaticism has degraded our civilisation, and will continue to degrade it. "The God Delusion" explores the unproven beliefs that are treated as factual by many religions and the extremes to which some followers have taken them. Dawkins opens the programme by describing the "would-be murderers ... who want to kill you and me, and themselves, because they're motivated by what they think is the highest ideal." Dawkins argues that "the process of non-thinking called faith" is not a way of understanding the world, but instead stands in fundamental opposition to modern science and the scientific method, and is divisive and dangerous.
Series: The Root of All Evil
Dynamic Genomes Series
Dynamic Genomes Series

   2019    Medicine
Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD

   2011    History
Beyond the Elements
Beyond the Elements

   2020    Science
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
How the Universe Works Series 9
How the Universe Works Series 9

   2021    Science
Himalaya with Michael Palin
Himalaya with Michael Palin

   2004    Culture
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
Elvis Presley: The Searcher
Elvis Presley: The Searcher

   2018    History