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The Knowledge of Healing

   1998    Medicine
The documentary 'The Knowledge of Healing' is an illuminating examination of Tibetan medicine, a practice which has developed over two millennia into a modern day successful method of healing that rivals western medical practices. Unlike Western medicine, based on biochemistry, Tibetan medical thinking (which is strongly rooted in Buddhist principles) views the human body as governed by an elaborately organized system of energies flowing through a network of channels. In the 12th century, the Gyüshi (Knowledge of Healing) was created, a text codifying this intricate system. The medications used comprise herbs, roots, minerals, etc. After flourishing for centuries, most Tibetan medical schools were destroyed by the Chinese in the 1950's and 1960's, and many physicians were executed. Speaking from exile, the Dalai Lama argues for the value of Tibetan medicine, while his personal physician Dr. Tenzin Choedrak describes the principles behind it. We follow physicians in India and Siberia treating patients for a variety of ailments from paralysis to heart disease, and meet researchers in Israel and Switzerland to see how western clinical studies are testing the effectiveness of Tibetan medicine.

Great Plains

   2007    Nature
After filming for three years, Planet Earth finally captures the shy Mongolian gazelle. Only a handful of people have witnessed its annual migration. Don't miss the bizarre-looking Tibetan fox, captured on film for the first time. Over six weeks the team follow a pride of 30 lions as they attempt to hunt elephants. Using the latest night vision equipment, the crew film the chaotic battles that ensue at close quarters.
Series: Planet Earth

A Passage to India

   2004    Nature
Travelling from K2 in Pakistan to Ladakh in India. It is a short distance as the crow flies but, due to politics, a huge loop. He passes through the Sikh city of Amritsar, with its Golden Temple, and through Shimla with its Vice Regal Lodge, Gaiety Theatre and cosy half-timbered tea-houses. He then meets the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government is in exile.
Series: Himalaya with Michael Palin

Annapurna to Everest

   2004    Culture
During a Gurkha recruitment Palin is disturbed by Maoist insurgents, but survives to suffer as he climbs to 15,000 feet and sees the majesty of Annapurna Sanctuary. In Kathmandu he is blessed by the Nepalese king before meeting some holy men. Crossing into Tibet, he meets his first yaks at the highest monastery in the world, before heading up the Rongbuk glacier towards the summit of Everest.
Series: Himalaya with Michael Palin

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

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
The Truth About

The Truth About

2018  Medicine
The Crusades

The Crusades

2012  History
The Green Planet

The Green Planet

2022  Nature
Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet

2022  Science
The Jinx

The Jinx

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Life

Life

2009  Nature
Reel Rock

Reel Rock

2014  Culture
Rome

Rome

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