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The Normans

   2010    History
Professor Robert Bartlett explores how the Normans developed from a band of marauding Vikings into the formidable warriors who conquered England in 1066. He tells how the Normans established their new province of Normandy -'land of the northmen' - in northern France. Under the leadership of Duke William, they conquered England. The Battle of Hastings marked the end of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and monarchy. The culture and politics of England would now be transformed by the Normans.

The Private Life of Plants

   1994    Nature
Sir David Attenborough reveals plants as they have never been seen before - on the move and dangerously devious. About the major problems of life - growing, finding food, reproduction - and the varied ways plants have evolved to solve it. Filmed from the plant's point of view, using computer animations, fibre-optics and unique time-lapse photography. The first episode looks at how plants are able to move". The bramble is an aggressive example: it advances forcefully from side to side and, once settled on its course, there is little that can stand in its way. An altogether faster species is the birdcage plant, which inhabits Californian sand dunes. When its location becomes exposed, it shifts at great speed to another one with the assistance of wind — and it is this that allows many forms of vegetation to distribute their seeds. While not strictly a plant, the spores of fungi are also spread in a similar fashion. One of the most successful (and intricate) flowers to use the wind is the dandelion, whose seeds travel with the aid of 'parachutes'. They are needed to travel miles away from their parents, who are too densely packed to allow any new arrivals. Trees have the advantage of height to send their seeds further, and the cottonwood is shown as a specialist in this regard. The humidity of the tropical rainforest creates transportation problems, and the liana-species Alsomitra macrocarpa is one plant whose seeds are aerodynamic 'gliders'. Some, such as those of the sycamore, take the form of 'helicopters', while others, such as the squirting cucumber release their seeds by 'exploding'. Water is also a widely used method of propulsion. The tropical sea bean Entada gigas has one of the biggest fruits of all plants and is dispersed by water streams. However, most plants use living couriers, whether they be dogs, humans and other primates, ants or birds, etc., and to that end, they use colour and smell to signify when they are ripe for picking.

Bible's Buried Secrets

   2011    Culture
Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou asks whether the ancient Israelites believed in one God as the Bible claims. She puts the Bible text under the microscope, examining what the original Hebrew said, and explores archaeological sites in Syria and the Sinai which are shedding new light on the beliefs of the people of the Bible. Was the God of Abraham unique? Were the ancient Israelites polytheists? And is it all possible that God had another half?

The Incredible Human Journey

   2009    History
Dr Alice Roberts re-traces the greatest ever journey taken by our ancestors. Thousands of years ago one small group of our species, Homo sapiens, crossed out of Africa and into the unknown. Their descendants faced baking deserts, sweat-soaked jungles and frozen wildernesses and risked everything on the vast empty ocean. Within 60,000 years they colonised the whole world... How did they do it? Why do we, their descendants all look so different?

Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
The rock revolution of the 1960s seen through the life and music of Jimi Hendrix. We see how he became the first, ultimately doomed, icon of rock. The Birth Of Rock also explores the influence of rhythm & blues on a generation of British musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Cream and The Who, and how the song-writing of Bob Dylan and studio developments of The Beatles transformed the possibilities and ambitions of rock.
Colour The Spectrum of Science
Colour The Spectrum of Science

   2015    Science
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Vice
Vice

   2013    Culture
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
Meet the Romans
Meet the Romans

   2012    History
Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing

   2011    Science
The Big Think
The Big Think

   2017    Technology