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BBC Documentaries

Season 1979 1979

  • 1979-04-24T20:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • 11 hours, 0 mins (11 episodes)
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

Documentaries produced by or for the BBC.

13 episodes

1979x01 It's About Time

  • Season Premiere

    1979-04-24T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

This programme with Dudley Moore in the role of the layman investigates the physical and philosophical theories of time, including the variability of human estimation of time, the meaninglessness of concept of absolute time, the relativity twin paradox, time travel, the birth in detail and an envisioned death of the universe. Those explaining these concepts to him include Isaac Asimov, and actors in dramatizations, together with graphics and simulations.

1979x02 Wings Over The World

  • 1979-04-08T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

TV special featuring footage filmed throughout Wings' tour of 1975/1976, following the band in England, Australia and America. It contains live concert performances featuring fifteen of Wings' greatest songs and home movies of Paul McCartney and his family, providing a fascinating profile of the McCartneys' life off-stage.

The tour itself was a major triumph for Wings - the first time the group had appeared in Australia and America, and Paul's first performance in the States for ten years. Three million people saw the shows and a then-world record attendance for an indoor concert of 67,053 was set at the Kingdome, Seattle.

Starting with Paul and Linda in Scotland, the special features the gradual build-up of the band and follows Wings on tour with hit songs such as Jet, Maybe I'm Amazed, Yesterday, Silly Love Songs and Band on the Run. The Wings line-up for the tour was Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English.

1979x03 Einstein's Universe

  • 1979-03-14T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

This highly informative and educational two hour BBC program was written and conceived by Nigel Calder, author of several books on science, including Einstein’s Universe, upon which this program is based. It is hosted by Peter Ustinov, who serves both as our guide to understanding Einstein’s theories and speaks Einstein’s words to make his presence felt throughout the program. Ustinov becomes educated in Einstein’s theories by many of the best minds in science, who provide demonstrations to illustrate his teachings. These include experiments to help understand gravity, warped space, how light responds to gravity, the “Doppler effect” and how radio waves, as used in police radar, are an unbeatable way of measuring speed. From these simpler experiments much larger concepts are drawn, such as the discovery of a Binary Pulsar, the nature of black holes and how they are created, and the ultimate theory of how the universe was formed. Other demonstrations measure the speed of light, how time passes more slowly for people traveling in an airplane, the incredible accuracy of the Atomic Clock in Washington, DC and how time itself would appear to stop at the surface of a black hole. The conclusion of the program portrays Einstein as a great humanitarian. Although known as the “father of the Atomic Bomb”, his greatest concern was for the potentially devastating effects splitting the atom could have on the future of mankind. His famous letter to President Franklin Roosevelt warned that although the splitting of the atom to detonate an atomic bomb could be used to end World War II, it could also potentially be used for far more deadly ends. This last thought is the subject of another Nigel Calder book, Nuclear Nightmares, and a second BBC program to explore this subject in more depth.

1979x04 The New Sound of Music

  • 1979-06-05T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Michael Rodd surveys the use of synthesisers,computer & multi-track recording techniques to create the new sounds of electronic music.

James Burke looks back on the Apollo Moon landings. Now that ten years have passed, the full story of how and why America sent men to the Moon ' for all mankind ' can be told.

In this first programme, based on exclusive interviews with seven former Apollo astronauts and illustrated by the beautiful film they shot in space, the dramatic real-life adventure story of the Moon landings is told more frankly than ever before. Among other things, it is revealed that the first landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ten years ago tonight was far closer to disaster than was admitted at the time.

James Burke looks back on the Apollo Moon landings, following the astronauts' version of Apollo earlier this evening, this second programme goes right behind the scenes to examine the political imperatives that first fostered, then disowned Project Apollo. Born out of J.F.K Kennedy's frustration at Soviet success killed because of the cost of the Vietnam war, Apollo was a political football - as the top NASA managers reveal in exclusive interviews.
Lunar scientists, too, have a story to tell. What, after ten years-analysis of moon rocks, did they get out of the $24-billion adventure? What, come to that, was in it for the rest of us?

This programme looks at the Rainhill Locomotive Trials in Rainhill, Lancashire (now Merseyside) in 1829, a competition to find the best passenger steam locomotive in Britain.On the 150th anniversary of the trials, replicas of its famous winner - Stephenson's 'Rocket' - and two of its competitors are rebuilt by modern day designers, and the trials are reconstructed in Hyde Park.

1979x08 Let's Go Naked

  • 1979-01-03T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

There is an explosion in naturist holidays. It is estimated that 15 million people spent their holidays with nothing on last summer - four times as many as ten years ago. One tour operator predicts that naturist holidays will soon be as popular as ski-ing.
At Cap d'Agde in the south of France a gigantic naturist town is being built. Already it has accommodation for 20,000. Soon it will be twice the size. And its supermarkets, banks, cafes and restaurants are full of naked people
English families explain why they choose to go naked - many preferring the less commercial, back-to-nature resorts; few approving of the Mr and Miss Nude Admerica pageants staged every year by a Californian entrepreneur ' to bring nudism out of the closet and into the public eye '.
JOHN PITMAN traces the growth of the naturist movement this century, from its small-time beginnings in a park in north Germany, to the multi-million-pound business it is today - especially for France and Yugoslavia.

1979x09 In the Steps of Columbanus

  • 1979-12-04T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Cardinal Tomas O' Fiaich, tracing the journeys of Columbanus and the early medieval Irish missionaries.

1979x10 Fred Dibnah Steeplejack

  • 1979-09-06T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Until 1978, Fred Dibnah was a steeplejack working locally to his own area of Lancashire. Whilst working on the Town Hall in Bolton, the local BBC TV filmed a short news item about him. As a result of this, Fred was approached by a television producer with a view to making 1 half-hour film as part of a series about people with unusual occupations. After several months of filming, the final article was an hour long documentary, screened in his own right. This won two awards for the producer.

1979x11 Ceefax is Here

  • 1979-03-01T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

A trade information film about an exciting modern extra for TV.

1979x12 Arrows

  • no air date — 60 mins

In 1979 filmmaker John Samson went on the road with a 22-year-old Eric Bristow, one of the rising stars of British darts. This film from the archives depicts Bristow between major competitions as he travels around the pubs and working men's clubs of Britain, challenging the local heroes and playing exhibition matches. Bristow takes on all-comers and breezily faces down a belligerent local radio host. (bbc)