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BBC Documentaries

Season 2007 2007

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  • 2007-06-26T20:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • 5 days, 6 hours, 0 mins (126 episodes)
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest
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Documentaries produced by or for the BBC.

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126 episodes

2007x01 Castrato

  • Season Premiere

    2007-06-26T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Castrati were the undisputed superstars of 18th-century musical culture, driving crowds wild with their intoxicatingly androgynous virtuoso voices.

Nicholas Clapton, countertenor and castrato historian, analyses the anatomical mysteries of the castrato and the biological implications of castrato. He travels to Bologna, the adopted home of Farinelli, perhaps the most famous castrato.

And for the first time in Britain, American male soprano Michael Maniaci, a young Baroque opera singer whose voice did not break at puberty, performs Mozart's Exultate Jubilate, a piece originally written for castrato Rauzzini.

2007x02 The Moon

  • 2007-12-16T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Moon - Ruler of the Night

This exclusive BBC documentary tries to explain the ancient fascination of humans for the earthly satellite.

Almost every night it stands on the sky, sometimes a small sickle, sometimes full and round. The full moon is a symbol of fertility and insanity, lust for murder and werewolves. But what influence does the moon really hold on our life? This movie shows the millenia old fascination for the earthly satellite - from the stone-circles of ancient moon-cults to the time of the cold war to new missions to the moon in the near future.

Science has discovered the moon anew. After the race to space had been won by the Americans it quickly lost its magic/attraction. Already new and farther away targets were luring. The long awaited landing on the moon insofar turned out to be a disappointment as it only showed that the earth-satellite was exactly what had been observed in the sky: a cold, lifeless rock which only catches the attention of the eye because it reflects the light of the sun. This realization left no room for the century old myths and legends which surrounded the moon. Yet, while the public turned its attention to new discoveries, geologists just started with their examinations. The gathered moonstone told the story of the creation of the earth and its satellite from a new point of view. The moon itself emerged from the collision of the young earth and another planet some 4.5 billion years ago. Its rock hasn't changed much since and thus gives important clues to the history of the earth.

Other celestial bodies like the Jupiter satellites Io and Europa and the Saturn-moon Titan turned out to be exciting worlds with gigantic volcanic eruptions, thick atmospheres and ice-covered oceans. Should our own moon too hold more than had been discovered until now? Indeed scientists found something of interest on the poles: a thin layer of ice which could provide humans with life-giving water. This discovery ignited the race to spa

2007x03 The British Enlightenment

  • 2007-10-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

A groundbreaking history of the British Enlightenment retraces the innovations in representative government, industrialization, religious tolerance, and individualism that made the eighteenth century so important in the history of England, and the world.

Historian professor Roy Porter examines the contributions of 18th-century British scientists, philosophers, economists and industrialists to the era that shaped the destiny of modern Europe.

Jonathan Ross goes in search of his hero, Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man but virtually unknown to all but a handful of comic-book enthusiasts. In a one-off film for BBC Four, Ross, a noted comic-book enthusiast and obsessive Ditko fan, goes in search of the comic-book legend who lives his life as a recluse.
Ditko should be a multi-millionaire. Many times he has been offered vast sums of cash in return for explaining why he left Marvel and, of course, Spider-Man, the character he co-created with Stan Lee back in 1961.
Ditko and Lee worked together at Marvel for five years but, when Spider-Man was on the verge of becoming the best-sëlling comic book in the world, Ditko left the book and the company. While at Marvel, he had designed all of the characters, illustrated and inked each issue and provided Spider-Man with his unique look. He'd also plotted every story, leaving Lee to write the dialogue. In the years that followed he continued creating many new and wonderful characters for the biggest comic companies, as well as expressing his own political and personal views in independently published books. He has never explained why he left Spider-Man when he did, or why he has never returned to draw his most famous character again. It's a question that intrigues and perplexes comic fans all over the world. Meanwhile, Stan Lee's contribution to the Spider-Man phenomenon has left him well-known and wealthy.

To discover what led to Ditko's unusual career path, and in an effort to ensure this reclusive genius receives the credit that he's due, Ross heads off in search of both the man and, hopefully, the truth.

Ross's search takes him from the UK to Los Angeles. On his journey, he talks to those who have met and worked with Ditko, including Lee and another comic-book legend, Northampton-based Alan Moore.

Documentary about brother and sister duo The Carpenters, one of the biggest selling pop acts of the 1970s, but one with a destructive and complex secret that ended in tragedy with Karen Carpenter's untimely death at 32. Featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Richard Carpenter, family and friends.

2007x06 Car Crash: The Delorean Story

  • 2007-08-22T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Former General Motors high-flyer John DeLorean had a plan to build a stylish European sports car, at a price that would make it attractive to the American market. The site he chose for his state-of-the-art factory was on the outskirts of Belfast, a city best-known for sectarian violence and high levels of unemployment.

The unexpected marriage of high-tech glamour with the gritty reality of 1970s Northern Ireland captured the public's imagination but this early optimism would end in failure. Although the cars looked great, the windows leaked and the engines seized; as his financial problems mounted the maverick DeLorean faced charges of drugs trafficking. Adrian Dunbar narrates the story.

2007x07 Sea of Fire

  • 2007-06-01T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

HMS Coventry brought down more aircraft than any other ship during the Falklands War. As other British ships sank around them, Coventry believed they were invincible.

But at the height of the conflict, HMS Coventry was sent on a risky mission to lure enemy bombers away from the troops landing in San Carlos Bay. The Argentineans duly obliged by sending waves of Skyhawks to take out the British Destroyer.

By late afternoon on May 25th 1982, HMS Coventry had already survived two raids and shot down three enemy planes. But just as Captain Hart Dyke and his crew thought they had weathered the storm, the Argentineans launched one last attack. For the first time in 25 years the men of HMS Coventry tell their dramatic story.

Documentary looking at the music and mythology of a golden era in Californian culture, and telling the story of how Los Angeles changed from a kooky backwater in the early 1960s to become the artistic and industrial hub of the American music industry by the end of the 1970s.

Alongside extensive and never before seen archive footage, the programme features comprehensive first-hand accounts of the key figures including musicians (David Crosby, Graham Nash, J. D. Souther, Bernie Leadon and Bonnie Raitt, music industry bosses (David Geffen, Jac Holzman, Ron Stone and Peter Asher) and legendary LA scenesters including Henry Diltz, Pamela Des Barres and Ned Doheny.

The film explores how the socially-conscious folk rock of young hippies with acoustic guitars was transformed into the coked-out stadium excess of the late 1970s and the biggest selling album of all time.

2007x09 The Comet's Tale

  • 2007-11-25T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Although believed to be gods by many ancient civilisations, who saw them as bringers of life or harbingers of doom, to Isaac Newton they were the key to unlocking the secrets of gravity. Hundreds of years later, a new breed of space mission can show what comets are really made of, where they come from, and their surprising influence on events on Earth.

2007x10 The Satellite Story

  • 2007-12-02T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Fifty years ago Sputnik was launched by the Russians, and the space age dawned. Starting with the jubilation, fear and panic that accompanied the launch of "The Red Moon", this documentary explores how satellites have now affected almost every aspect of our lives.

Spy satellites and GPS (global positioning system) have transformed the military. Communications have been revolutionized, with Telstar, the first commercially-launch satellite, even becoming an international celebrity. Satellites have revolutionized our understanding of our climate, saving countless lives. Hubble, so nearly a disaster, went on to change the way we understand our universe. Thanks to satellites, the world is now a smaller, safer, and better understood place.

The programme explores the technological milestones that have made all this possible but ends with a warning. Our civilization is now dependent on satellites, making us vulnerable were something to go wrong. Recent events in China have revealed just how vulnerable we might be, for they suggest we might be on the verge of another new age - of satellite terrorism.

This documentary speaks to some of the people who saw or met up with him in that last week. The woman who watched him lick his plate clean, and fail to sign a cheque, in his local restaurant; Duff Mckagan, former bass player of Guns n Roses, who sat next to him on the plane back to Seattle; his drug counsellor from rehab. There are also those who claim to have seen him in those last few days, to have touched the hem of his cloth. And there is Brant, who saw him in a dream the night before he died. It is a film about the generation of a myth. Of the deification of Cobain and the eery silence that fell over Seattle in the days following his death, when his ghost wandered the city.

The documentary is based around the Evel Knievel Days event in Butte, Montana. The presenter, Richard Hammond, spends four days with former motorcycle daredevil Evil Knievel. Knievel, by now 69 years old had become very ill, requiring an oxygen tank strapped up to him constantly to aid with breathing and 48 hours before the film crew arrived Knievel had a stroke.[2] At several points during filming, Knievel cuts the interview short and leaves before Hammond has finished asking questions.

2007x13 Rover - The Long Goodbye

  • 2007-08-23T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

In the days when Britain's car industry was the envy of the world, Rover epitomised everything to which the driver of taste aspired, but in 2005 it reached the end of the road. The film explores how Rover cars went from defining their eras to becoming victims of their times, telling the story behind the key models to the controversial joint ventures with Japanese and Indian manufacturers in later years.

When Luciano Pavarotti died in 2007, the world lost one of its finest voices. The 'King of the High Cs' was sought after by all the major opera houses in his early career. International superstardom came with his Three Tenors and Pavarotti and Friends concerts, and his version of Nessun Dorma was used for the BBC's coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. This portrait uses archive and the memories of his closest associates- including Jose Carreras, Dame Joan Sutherland and Juan Diego Florez.

Documentary telling the tragic story of the greatest loss of fathers in British history. When the nation was called to arms in the patriotic fervour of 1914 it was difficult to imagine that, four years later, half a million children would have lost their fathers in battle. The impact of their deaths was devastating and never forgotten by their sons and daughters. Now in their 90s, they go on an emotional journey to remember their lost fathers, culminating in a visit to their graves in France.

Robert Baden-Powell's handbook Scouting for Boys, written in 1908, may be largely forgotten today but it is one of the most influential and best-selling books of all time. In the 20th century, only the Bible, the Koran and the Thoughts of Chairman Mao sold more. But they had fewer jokes, no pictures and were useless at important stuff like tying knots.

In this entertaining and affectionate film, Ian Hislop uncovers the story behind the book which kick-started the Scout Movement - a work which is very eccentric, very Edwardian and very British.

Capturing the beauty of the English Lake District, a documentary which traces the life of writer and artist Alfred Wainwright, the eccentric Lancastrian who created a series of iconic fell-walking books which he hand-wrote, illustrated and published himself in the 1950s.

Celebrating the centenary of his birth, the film captures his passionate love affair with the Lakeland landscape and explores how his books have become guide-book classics for millions of fell-walkers.

Documentary charting the extinction of the dodo and the lessons that could be applied to modern life.

2007x19 Beryl's Last Year

  • 2007-01-02T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The novelist Dame Beryl Bainbridge thinks she's going to die at the age of 71, because everyone in her family died when they were that age, from her mother and father to her grandparents, aunts and uncles. Opening with her 71st birthday, this uniquely personal film, made by Beryl's eldest grandson Charlie Russell, follows Beryl as she lives out her 'last year', prepares for her death and tries to write her final novel.

2007x20 Blondie: One Way or Another

  • 2007-03-07T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about the Debbie Harry-fronted New York band Blondie, who crossed pop with punk, reggae and rap and had no 1's in all styles, from their Bowery beginnings at CBGBs in 1974 to their controversial induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. With exclusive backstage and performance footage from their 2006 UK tour, plus in-depth interviews with current and ex-band members and friends Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Tommy Ramone, and Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.

2007x21 Queens of Disco

  • 2007-03-06T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Graham Norton profiles the leading ladies of the disco era, including Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Madonna and 'honorary disco queen' Sylvester. Includes contributions from the queens themselves, plus Antonio 'Huggy Bear' Fargas, choreographer Arlene Phillips, songwriters Ashford and Simpson, disco artists Verdine White from Earth, Wind and Fire, Bonnie Pointer of the Pointer Sisters and Nile Rodgers of Chic.

2007x28 Gambling in Las Vegas

  • 2007-06-16T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Louis Theroux heads to Las Vegas, the fastest growing city in America, to take a look at the pastime that made it famous and meet the gamblers, the high rollers and the casino men who keep this town in the middle of the desert green with money.

The Las Vegas Hilton is Louis's home over the course of one very memorable long weekend. Once the biggest hotel in the world, it is old school Vegas with a face-lift; this is the casino where Elvis played over eight hundred sold-out shows.

We meet Richard Wilk, the Hilton's smooth-talking 'super host' who prides himself on his ability to say yes to his clients. Louis hangs out with Richard's high-rolling 'whales'. Whales like Allan, who flies in from Canada to party in a 25,000 dollar suite, ready to blow 200,000 dollars or more over the weekend.

Louis makes his way past the dancing girls and flashing lights to find Martha, a glamorous septuagenarian who spends at least 1,000 dollars a day on the slots. She hasn't missed a day in ten years and has lost 4 million dollars.

And there's John and Tim, Vegas regulars who take Louis under their wing as he nervously gambles his own money on one long night on the black jack table. They walk away at 5am - but are they winners?

2007x29 Ultimate Wild Water

  • 2007-08-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Journalist Kate Silverton abandons the safety of her BBC studio to embark on an adrenalin-fuelled journey of discovery through Britain's fastest flowing rivers and most turbulent seas. Amid the pounding North Cornish surf, Kate's childhood fear of open water dramatically re-awakens. Now she must conquer not only strong currents, huge waves and white water, but also her own worst nightmares.

How the squalid streets of '70s New York gave birth to music that would go on to conquer the world - punk, disco and hip hop.

In the 1970s the Big Apple was rotten to the core, yet out of the grime, grit and low rent space emerged new music unlike anything that had gone before.

2007x31 Vienna: City of Dreams

  • 2007-12-30T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Joseph Koerner explores the art, architecture and music of fin de siecle Vienna. Using one of Vienna's most famous sons, Sigmund Freud, as a key, Koerner attempts to unlock Vienna's psyche for clues as to why this unlikely city gave birth to modernism. Home to Klimt, Schoenberg and Hitler, he portrays an artistic and intellectual melting pot; a place where many of the great dreams, and nightmares, of the modern era were first imagined.

2007x32 Guys and Dolls

  • 2007-01-17T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about the men who use sophisticated life-size dolls for sexual satisfaction and more - such as dates, affection and lifelong companionship. Featuring a young American man who gives his doll daily massages in the home he shares with his disapproving Mum and Dad; a British man who takes his doll out on day trips to the coast where she watches him hang- glide; and two Americans who live with multiple dolls, one of whom shares his eight synthetic lovers with his human girlfriend.

2007x33 China's Terracotta Army

  • 2007-09-15T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Dan Snow follows the making of the British Museum's biggest exhibition in a generation and tells the story of its subject, the First Emperor of China. Qin Shihuangdi is one of the most important but least well-known men in history. He founded the world's oldest political entity and created the spectacular Terracotta Army to guard his vast tomb.

With exclusive access to the BM team for over a year, Dan follows the curator Jane Portal, and the design team, as they create a blockbuster exhibition in the historic Round Reading Room and he travels to China to see the original Great Wall, the sacred mountain Tai Shan, and the great necropolis at Xian with its thousands of warriors.

2007x34 Rageh Inside Iran

  • 2007-07-20T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary presented by Rageh Omaar which reveals the lives, hopes and fears of the young generation of Tehran, the most intriguing, talked about but least understood city in the world today.

Forty years after Britain's foremost 'underground' band released their debut album, 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn', Pink Floyd remain one of the biggest brand names and best-loved bands in the world. This film features extended archive footage alongside original interviews with David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, and traces the journey of a band that has only ever had five members, three of whom have lead the band at different stages of its evolution.

Louis struggles to come to terms with the infamous family who picket the funerals of soldiers in protest against an America that tolerates homosexuality.

Fifty years ago, Britain suffered its worst nuclear accident. On the night of 10 October 1957, a fire began to spread throughout the core of the Windscale nuclear reactor, sending radioactive dust across Britain.

Using the taped recordings of the inquiry into the fire - which have been kept secret ever since the disaster and are heard for the first time - and featuring interviews with the men who risked their lives to prevent a tragedy, this film reveals how political ambition fuelled the fire and then dictated that the heroes of Windscale be made the scapegoats.

The Windscale nuclear reactor was a project on an unprecedented scale. Designed to produce materials first for Britain's A-bomb, and then for the H-bomb, it was a triumphant statement of British scientific and technological prowess.

But, beneath its image, Windscale had been built in a hurry - with dire consequences. Radioactive leaks were found and the core of the reactor began dangerously overheating. Some scientists warned that radioactive materials inside could catch fire.

But the leaks were hushed up and the warnings ignored. Instead, Windscale was ordered to achieve even greater increases in output to meet a political deadline to explode Britain's first H-bomb.

The result was potential disaster - the core of the reactor caught fire and radioactive dust began spreading over the country. Windscale workers faced a terrible dilemma - if they tried to put the fire out with water they risked turning the reactor into a gigantic nuclear bomb, and if they let the fire burn, it could contaminate people across a huge area.

Risking death from explosion and radioactive poisoning, the Windscale men averted a major tragedy. The inquiry revealed that the warnings about the risks had been hushed up or ignored. But the government kept its findings secret, and instead blamed the fire on an "error of judgement" by the very workers who had first warned of the potential problems and then battled so heroic

Survival Expert Ray Mears takes actor Ewan McGregor deep into the Honduran Jungle in search of a lost civilisation. Ray is no soft option travelling companion - he tests people to the utmost in the wild. After just a few basic lessons in survival they set off to face everything the jungle can throw at them.

2007x39 A Tudor Feast at Christmas

  • 2007-12-23T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

This special hosted by the BBC is an hour-long documentary set in Haddon Hall, in Derbyshire. Haddon Hall, started in 1195, is one of the most spectacularly preserved manors in England. Although the castle/manor has been used in literature, TV shows and movies and is currently open to visitors during part of the year, the Tudor kitchen hadn’t been used in 300 years. The team of historians and archaeologists in this fascinating documentary recreate a Tudor feast using period ingredients, recipes, kitchenware, and methods. They have three days to prepare and cook the [feast] and they use every minute.

The first thing the recreationists do is light the big ovens using flint and steel with a bit of linen to catch the flame. They gather water in wooden buckets from the stream for water. They grind up sugar blocks, spices, and knead dough for all the dishes, explaining the importance of each to the Tudor feast. We learn from the experts how a boar would have been hunted, how fish in the river would have been caught, how confections were made, and food was prepared.

They explain most of the dishes, including the boar, the peacock that has been skinned and stuffed with meat delicacies, and the desert subtlety which was gilded with gold leaf applied with a feather. They even set the feast hall and the tables as they would have in the Tudor period, and explain some table manners. Finally, the feast is enjoyed by several guests in period garb, a nice conclusion to an interesting and informative journey into the culinary past.

2007x40 Dangerous Knowledge

  • 2007-08-08T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing - whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.

The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God's messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity.

A warm, amusing and moving profile of the famous jazz singer and critic as he reflects on his life and music and visits his old haunts in Soho, Barcelona and Wales. With contributions from Dr Jonathan Miller and Humphrey Littleton.

2007x42 Simon Schama: Rough Crossings

  • 2007-03-23T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Rough Crossings, presented by Simon Schama, tells the story of Britain, the slave trade and the American War of Independence; and how the British government offered freedom to enslaved African Americans if they would fight for the king. It focuses on the little-known, heroic story of three incredible men: freed slaves Thomas Peters and David George and English Naval Officer John Clarkson.

2007x43 Bashing Booze Birds

  • 2007-01-28T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Nicky Taylor hits the drinking circuits of Britain to investigate what's going on with women on their nights out, asking how big is the problem, is the binge drinking to blame and what the link is between alcohol and aggression.

Lonesome George is officially the loneliest animal on the planet. He is the last remaining Pinta Island Giant Tortoise in existence; when he dies, his race will be extinct. He has become an icon of his native Galapagos Islands and symbol of the battle to preserve their unique wildlife. The islands are at a critical point in their history - threatened by illegal fishing, the demands of a booming population and an ever-expanding tourism industry - yet the will within the islanders to protect Galapagos is strong. This is both the personal story of Lonesome George and of the local characters intent on turning around the fortunes of their unique tropical paradise.

2007x45 Stephen Fry: Guilty Pleasures

  • 2007-08-18T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Actor, writer, director and presenter Stephen Fry reveals the things he considers his guiltiest pleasures. These include darts, romantic novels by Georgette Heyer, the work of Richard Wagner and TV game show Countdown. With the help of entertaining clips and personal recollections, the programme provides an amusing insight into the mind of one of Britain's favourite comedy performers.

2007x46 Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out

  • 2007-09-08T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary to celebrate the great man's 50th birthday, with interviews from colleagues such as Emma Thompson and Richard Curtis.

2007x47 Sickert versus Sargent

  • 2007-05-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Two contrasting artists of the Edwardian era come under scrutiny: Walter Sickert of the Camden Town School, who painted low life, and the glamorous John Singer Sargent, who painted the rich and famous.

2007x48 Xtreme Teen Drivers

  • 2007-12-15T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

With cameras in the car of a boy racer, the programme sets him the ultimate challenge - can he change from reckless speed freak into a model motorist before he kills himself?

2007x50 The Dead Sea Scrolls

  • 2007-08-24T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Rageh Omaar tells the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls and uncovers the truth behind the myth. The biblical find of the age, they contain the earliest versions of the Hebrew bible, maps to hidden temple treasure, and insight into the mindset of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the early Christians. But the scrolls were soon embroiled in controversy, with allegations of conspiracy and cover-up, rumours that persist today thanks to The Da Vinci Code.

David Baddiel travelled to Russia in 2004 to see the remnants of his grandfather's factory, stolen by the Nazis. It is estimated that $150 billion of Jewish businesses, houses, art collections and cash were taken from Jews during the Holocaust. David embarks on a new journey to New York, Berlin and Poland to discover how Jews have been fighting to get their money back. Along the way he is forced to confront his own discomfort about the issue of Holocaust restitution.

2007x52 The Art of Tommy Cooper

  • 2007-09-14T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Tommy Cooper was a national comedy institution whose catchphrase still remains in the language today. This bumbling giant with outsized feet and hands, whose mere entrance on stage had audiences erupting with uncontrollable laughter, was born in Caerphilly in 1921.

This programme looks at the life and art of the man in the fez whose clumsy, fumbling stage magic tricks hid a real talent as a magician. His private life was complicated and often difficult but as far as his audiences were concerned, he was first and foremost a clown whose confusion with the mechanisms of everyday life made for hilarious viewing.

Contributors include Tom O'Connor and Barry Cryer.

Jeremy Paxman presents a docudrama about tragic First World War poet Wilfred Owen, telling the poignant tale of his life from a childhood in Shropshire and northern England to his travels in pre-war France.

Paxman visits the sites of the battles in which he fought and died, and there are reconstructions from Owen's experience in the trenches and in hospital, when he was writing most intensely.

Darcey Bussell, who retired from the Royal Ballet in 2007, introduces and demonstrates some of her favourite ballet moments with dancers Roberto Bolle and Jonathan Cope.
Featuring some of her own performances and archive highlights, with music ranging from Scott Joplin to Tchaikovsky.
The ballets include Giselle, The Nutcracker and a classic performance by Margot Fonteyn in Swan Lake.

2007x55 Why Birds Sing

  • 2007-06-20T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Why are we so attracted to the music of nature? In this documentary, David Rothenberg interviews leading birdsong scientists and musicians, including Jarvis Cocker and Beth Orton, to support his controversial idea that birds might actually be singing for the sheer joy of it.

The film features a unique musical composition combining human music with birdsong, with contributions from Peter Gabriel, the Guillemots - and even an eider duck and a woodpecker:

2007x56 The Music of the Primes

  • 2007-07-26T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Marcus du Sautoy presents the story of those who have tried to capture one of the greatest unsolved problems of mathematics, the pattern of prime numbers. Filmed on location in America, India, Greece, Germany and England, the film includes interviews with some of the world's leading mathematicians.

2007x57 Hubble Telescope

  • 2007-12-02T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about the work of the world's most famous space telescope. Hubble celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2005 and has been used to look into the furthest regions of the universe.

2007x58 Mortgaged to the Yanks

  • 2007-06-18T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

At midnight on 31st December 2006, Britain finally paid off the last tranche of its multi-billion dollar debt to the Americans from the end of World War 2. Sir Christopher Meyer, controversial former ambassador to Washington during the Bush and Blair era and author of explosive memoirs DC Confidential, tells the dramatic story of how we came to be mortgaged to the Americans, and reveals what this cautionary tale really tells us about our so-called special relationship.

2007x59 Did Jesus Die?

  • 2007-02-05T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

This film investigates the variety of stories surrounding the New Testament account of the crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, by interviewing historians, theologians and historical researchers. This exploration of the latest theories about what really happened to Jesus 2000 years ago uncovers some surprising possibilities.

At the heart of the mystery is the suspicion that Jesus might not actually have died on the cross. The film concludes that it was perfectly possible to survive crucifixion in the 1st Century - there are records of people who did. But if Jesus survived, what happened to him afterwards?

One of the most remarkable stories concerns the charismatic preacher Jus Asaf (Leader of the Healed) who arrived in Kashmir in around 30 AD. Just before he died at the age of 80, Jus Asaf claimed that he was in fact Jesus Christ and the programme shows his tomb, next to which are his carved footprints which bear the scars of crucifixion.

Griff Rhys Jones reveals how Dickens created the idea of a traditional family Christmas through one of his best-known books, A Christmas Carol. From the moment it was published in 1843, the story of miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge captured the imagination of Victorian Britain. Santa Claus, Christmas cards and crackers were invented around the same time, but it was Dickens's book that boosted the craze for Christmas, above all promoting the idea that Christmas is best celebrated with the family. Interviewees include former on-screen Scrooge, Patrick Stewart, and writer Lucinda Hawksley, great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens himself.

2007x61 Five Ways To Save The World

  • 2007-02-19T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Climate change is being felt the world over and if global warming continues to increase the effects could be catastrophic. Some scientists and engineers are proposing radical, large-scale ideas that could save us from disaster.

The first three proposed ideas, featured in the film, look at reducing the power of the sun; thereby cooling the planet. The other two men in the program want to tackle the problem of excess carbon dioxide; the cause of global warming.

Most of the scientists are reluctant advocates of these ideas, and all believe we should be cutting down on our use of fossil fuels to heat our homes and drive our cars. But is time running out for planet earth?

Although these ideas might have unknown side effects, some scientists believe we may soon have no choice but to put these radical and controversial plans into action.

The story of US soldier James Joseph Dresnok, who deserted his unit in 1962 while guarding the peace in South Korea. After walking the most heavily fortified area on earth, he defected to the Cold War enemy, finding fame as a film actor and being hailed as a coveted star of the North Korean propaganda machine. Forty-five years later, this film reveals the lives of Comrade Joe and other American defectors.

2007x63 Ian Rankin's Hidden Edinburgh

  • 2007-08-01T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Edinburgh is often described as the 'Athens of the North' but its most famous detective Inspector Rebus views Scotland's capital in quite a different light - it is a crime scene waiting to happen.

As his creator Ian Rankin prepares to write the last ever Rebus case, the award-winning author re-visits the key locations from the books. From the city's 'pubic triangle' and the home of Scotland's most infamous madam to a police station where he was interviewed about a real murder, Rankin explores the hidden Edinburgh into which tourists never venture.

To mark the 30th anniversary, this documentary tells of the undercover investigation that rewrote the rules of drug policing and changed the way the drug trade operated in the UK.

2007x65 Teens Hooked on Porn

  • 2007-02-08T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary looking at how British teenagers are increasingly being tempted by the limitless porn available on the internet, with some becoming addicts. Three of them tell their stories of differing use of porn and their battles to overcome its lure, providing a unique insight into a part of growing up today.

2007x66 Tintin and Me

  • 2007-09-12T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about Belgium's greatest boy detective and his creator Herge, as related in a rare taped interview by journalist Numa Sadoul. Featuring groundbreaking animation in which footage of Herge is synchronised to fit the audio interview, plus an interview with Tintin expert, the late Harry Thompson.

'My Family and Other Animals' made Gerald Durrell a national celebrity, but it was his pioneering work at Jersey Zoo that changed the way we treat endangered species.

With contributions from his closest colleagues and friends, including David Attenborough and Desmond Morris, and drawing on his extensive TV archive, this is a revealing and warming portrait of a man who made a lasting difference to his family of animals.

Crime writer Ian Rankin investigates The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Starting with Robert Louis Stevenson's nightmare in September 1885, Rankin traces the roots of this story, which stretches back to Stevenson's childhood. Grave-robbers, hallucinatory drugs and prostitution all play their part in the disturbing account of Henry Jekyll's double-life, as Rankin's journey takes him into the yeasty draughts and unlit closes of the city that inspired the tale - Edinburgh.

2007x70 No Plan, No Peace Part One

  • 2007-10-28T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

John Ware relates the inside story of how the British and American governments invaded Iraq but had no plan for what happened next - how to bring peace and democracy to a country of 26 million with no history of either. With testimony from British and Americans who were there, he reveals how the drumbeat to war drowned out the repeated warnings from the British Embassy in Washington and some British generals and civil servants about the 'black hole' in American post-war planning.

2007x71 No Plan, No Peace Part Two:

  • 2007-10-29T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

John Ware relates the inside story of how the British and American governments invaded Iraq but had no plan for what happened next - how to bring peace and democracy to a country of 26 million with no history of either. One former British general who was part of the reconstruction team described the failure by Washington and London to plan properly for the peace as 'snatching defeat from the jaws of victory'.

Poor James May. As he was stuck between his older and younger sisters, Jane and Sarah, the only toys he played with were their hand-me-downs. Sifting through the family toy box prompts James to share his tale of woe. Jane and Sarah do get their say, but not before James blows up the tree house family, races in a converted 'silver cross' pram, makes over a 'Girl's World' head, projects a Spirograph on the side of the Royal Festival Hall and makes his own Fuzzy Felt animated film.

Julia Hartley-Brewer examines the role of Leader of the Opposition and asks what lessons David Cameron can learn from history as he plots his path to power. He has already abandoned his party's confrontational stance as he bids to recast the image of the Tories as the nasty party and rebrand it as modern, compassionate and caring. The programme looks at what he can learn from the tactics of previous opposition leaders, from Winston Churchill to Tony Blair.

Rageh Omaar embarks on a unique journey inside what he describes as one of the most misunderstood countries in the world, looking at the country through the eyes of people rarely heard - ordinary Iranians.

Omaar visited Tehran - the region's capital - once before as a news reporter, filming the incendiary demonstrations and recording the uncompromising statements from officials since the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. But his experiences of being in the city never left him.

Omaar's journey takes him under the skin of the city and he meets with local people who share with him their personal stories and feelings about the current state of affairs in Iran. There are stories of taxi drivers; wrestlers; business women; people working with drug addicts and the country's leading pop star and his manager – the Simon Cowell of Iran - who drove Omaar around Tehran in his Mercedes-Benz.

Welcome to Tehran is told as a journey through Tehran, but also as a very personal essay by Omaar as he digs deeper into this complex and fascinating society.

Rageh Omaar embarks on a unique journey inside what he describes as one of the most misunderstood countries in the world, looking at the country through the eyes of people rarely heard - ordinary Iranians.

Omaar visited Tehran - the region's capital - once before as a news reporter, filming the incendiary demonstrations and recording the uncompromising statements from officials since the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. But his experiences of being in the city never left him.

Omaar's journey takes him under the skin of the city and he meets with local people who share with him their personal stories and feelings about the current state of affairs in Iran. There are stories of taxi drivers; wrestlers; business women; people working with drug addicts and the country's leading pop star and his manager – the Simon Cowell of Iran - who drove Omaar around Tehran in his Mercedes-Benz.

Welcome to Tehran is told as a journey through Tehran, but also as a very personal essay by Omaar as he digs deeper into this complex and fascinating society.

Documentary which tells the story of a rock star and a quantum mechanic. Mark Oliver Everett, better known as E, is the lead singer of cult US band the Eels. What most of his fans don't know is that Mark's father, Hugh Everett III, was one of America's top quantum physicists. In 1957, Hugh Everett came up with a revolutionary theory that predicts the existence of parallel universes. The idea quickly seeped into popular culture but only recently has it been accepted by mainstream physicists.

However, Mark was estranged from his father - Hugh died when Mark was just 19 - and knows little about his father's early life and virtually nothing about his controversial theory. With a soundtrack by the Eels, the film follows the wry and charismatic Mark as he travels across America to learn about the father he never knew. It is only by entering the paradoxical world of quantum mechanics that Mark can hope to understand why he was such a stranger to his own father.

2007x78 Kidult: Beautiful Young Minds

  • 2007-10-14T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

As part of the Kidult season, this documentary tells the story of some of the brightest mathematical brains of a generation. Each year, exceptionally gifted teenagers from over 90 countries compete for medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad. The film follows a group of brilliant teenagers as they battle it out to become the chosen six selected to represent the UK.

Many youngsters see maths as an ordeal, but for these teenagers it's a passion they are completely devoted to. We also hear how, for some, their extraordinary talent has left them ostracized at school. At just 15, Jonathan is the youngest contender in the group. A rocket-building enthusiast, he has already broken several UK distance records. However, Jonathan's academic gifts and scientific interests have led to him being bullied for being 'geeky'.

Some members of the group are on the autistic spectrum, and find social and confidence issues affect their everyday lives. 17-year-old Daniel has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, but recognizes that 'it's good to be different'. Apart from mathematics, the most important thing in Daniel's life is his girlfriend Zhu Yan. The couple met when Daniel spent three months traveling around China, during which time he taught himself fluent Mandarin. He is desperate to win a medal at the Olympiad and we follow his progress as he gears up for the competition and brings Zhu Yan back from China to his family home in York with the intention of marrying her.

As the competition day draws closer and minds and emotions are pushed to the limit, the film shows these young geniuses in their element, enjoying the subject they love and ultimately being celebrated as they deserve.

2007x79 Hungary 1956: Our Revolution

  • 2007-11-21T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary recalling the Hungarian uprising of autumn 1956, which, although it failed and was savagely repressed by the Soviets and their collaborators in Hungary, marked a crucial moment in the history of the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and the Cold War.

It was in many ways the prelude to the events of Prague in 1968 and the Solidarity movement in Poland. The flowering of optimism that moved masses of Hungarians, inebriated by the idea of democratic government and the end of Soviet-backed tyranny, provided a source of inspiration for other dissenters throughout the Eastern bloc.

There was something immensely heroic about Hungary's freedom-fighters, who fought a just war against overwhelming odds and something tragic about their inevitable defeat, once they realised that the West would not come to their rescue and that Khrushchev was determined to not give an inch.

The images of men, women and children climbing on Soviet tanks disabled by skilfully thrown Molotov cocktails, or young 'freedom-fighters' stalking the Budapest streets with machine-guns slung over their shoulders was instantly iconic.

200,000 Hungarians fled to the West, of whom only 40,000 returned. Many people were sent to prison and at least 1,200 executed. The wounds inflicted in those bitter days still fester today.

The film brings together the memories of a varied group of men and women who tell the story of 1956 from a personal point-of-view, evoking the inner and outer drama of the events - how they affected them as people and how they shaped the mood of the city as a whole.

The resulting mix of reminiscences offers a powerful and often deeply emotional account of events, the highs as well as the lows, that have universal significance.

2007x80 Russell Brand On The Road

  • 2007-12-12T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Russell Brand sets out across America's vast heartland in homage to one of his literary heroes, Jack Kerouac and his classic novel, On The Road, which has inspired countless hipsters and restless souls to hit the road. Russell read the book when he was 19 and was excited by the sense of magic and possibility it conjured up. Travelling with his friend Matt Morgan, he sets off on a coast-to-coast adventure that becomes a journey of self-discovery.

2007x81 The Sun

  • 2007-11-18T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Andrew Lincoln narrates a revealing documentary about the sun and our relationship with it over the years, from the worship of the Stone Age to the latest scientific research into ways to harness its power.

Alan Bennett narrates a documentary about James Ravilious, one of the great unknowns of British photography.

Son of the renowned water-colourist and engraver Eric Ravilious, he dedicated his art to a small area of north Devon, where over a period of two decades he took more than 80,000 photographs.

This collection has become one of the most comprehensive and poignant archives in the country, documenting an English world and way of life most people had thought long gone.

2007x83 Through Hell and High Water

  • 2006-02-17T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The story of James Cracknell and Ben Fogle's conquering of the Atlantic in a row boat.
When celebrity rowers James Cracknell and Ben Fogle decided to compete in the Atlantic Rowing Race, they thought they knew what to expect. In reality they had no idea. Through Hell And High Water follows the incredible journey made by these two men. Rowing 2,930 miles, James and Ben recount their epic journey: a journey that sees them battle stormy weather, dehydration, life threatening conditions and colossal physical stress. At times, their remarkable voyage becomes a living hell, stretching their friendship to breaking point. Pushed physically, psychologically and emotionally to the limit, Ben and James often rowed naked to avoid serious chafing. They survived without water rations for 2 days, lost the few clothes they had in a freak wave, capsized, hallucinated, wept, fought, played games, grew beards and nursed blisters. Forty nine days later, they were the first pair to cross the finishing line, becoming the first ever British team to ever win the race. Included in the wealth of extras on the DVD are James and Ben’s heartfelt diaries.

2007x84 Wildlife in a War Zone

  • 2007-08-30T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Sanjayan Muttulingam was forced to flee Sierra Leone when civil war erupted. Now a biologist in the United States, Sanjayan returns to his native land to find out what has happened to the animals which inspired him and the people he left behind.

Remember Living in the Past? It was the 1970s documentary series in which six families spent a year living in the Iron Age, working, sleeping and eating as their ancestors would have done 2,300 years before. Thirty years on, What Happened Next? catches up with the people who took part. Some still sport neolithic beards, while others nurse ancient grievances - one man describes building a house from mud and wood during the wettest spring of the century as "sheer hell".

PJ O'Rourke considers the unique role of the California governor, a position held by colourful characters from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Ronald Reagan, and reflects on a trendsetting, democratic state that has been home to hippies, urban rioting and all manner of alternative thinking.

2007x87 Kings of 70s Romance

  • 2007-01-07T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Lesley Joseph narrates a documentary about the unlikely pin-ups of the 1970s music scene, from Gilbert O'Sullivan and Barry White to Leo Sayer and Demis Roussos. These were men whose lyrics conjured up images of candle-lit dinners, red roses and cosy nights in with the man of your dreams. For millions of female fans their romantic music was the perfect soundtrack for dreams of escape from the day-to-day drudgery of life in 70s Britain

To mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, the album's engineer, Geoff Emerick, heads back to the studio with some of today's top artists to create new versions of the album's classic tracks. Will today's musicians succeed in recording their versions of the songs using the original studio equipment from 1967, and with only a day to record each song? The Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight and Bryan Adams are among those taking up the challenge

Jo Brand narrates a profile which celebrates the life and times of the BBC's first flagship live music programme, The Old Grey Whistle Test, which ran from 1971 to 1987. It looks at the music, the presenters, the TV rivals, the sparse studio and the legacy, finds out why Bob Harris whispered, what Sid Vicious tried to do to him and what Camel did with a woodwind quartet and why. All these questions are answered and many more, followed by loving compilations of those early 70s years, the era that time forgot.

2007x91 Stephen Fry - HIV and Me (1)

  • 2007-10-02T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

On a night out in Doncaster - once crowned HIV Capital of the North - Stephen chats to young people about current attitudes to HIV and risky sex. He also visits his first love from Cambridge who, having separated from Stephen, later found out he and his new partner were positive. And he meets an HIV-positive grandmother, and a 16-year-old girl who has lived with the virus all her life.

2007x92 Stephen Fry - HIV and Me (2)

  • 2007-10-09T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

In this second part he explores the impact of modern treatments and visits Uganda to investigate why drugs are unavailable there. He also takes an HIV test himself, and wonders why so many others are reluctant to do the same. His conclusion is that, while things have improved medically, the situation seems worse than ever psychologically and socially.

2007x93 If It Ain't Stiff

  • 2007-12-14T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about the UK record label Stiff Records

2007x94 Watching The Russians

  • 2007-11-21T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Stella Rimington (former MI5 Director General) on the UK's relationship with Russia over the last 150 years

2007x97 Folk Hibernia

  • 2007-01-19T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary which looks at the Irish folk revival of the last 20 or 30 years. 60 years ago virtually unheard abroad and largely unloved at home, Irish music has given the world a sense of Ireland and Ireland a sense of itself, as the country has risen from an impoverished post-colonial upstart to a modern European power. Contributors include Christy Moore, Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners, Liam Clancy of The Clancy Brothers and Shane MacGowan of The Pogues.

Documentary which looks back at Britain during the 18th century, a time of sexual excess and liberation, particularly in London. Vast amounts of erotic art and literature were produced – from the debauches of Fanny Hill, the orgies pictured by Thomas Rowlandson and accounts of the activities of the Hellfire Club. Presenter Matthew Sweet argues that the creators of this erotic enlightenment were not merely grubby pornographers, but that they conjured new ways of understanding human subjectivity.

Since its first foray onto the airwaves on Monday October 28 1957, the Today programme has been setting the nation's agenda. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, this film looks back at some of the most memorable moments in Today's history, drawing on some of the best audio from those 50 years, and remembering and talking to some of those who have been involved in and with the programme.

Britain's withdrawal from India in 1947 triggered one of the biggest migrations in history. 15 million were displaced and more than a million lost their lives. The story is told through the testimony of people who lived together for centuries, but were forced out of their homes as one of the largest and most ethnically diverse nations in the world was divided. Dramatised reconstructions evoke some of the mistrust, violence and upheaval that ensued.

Michael Rosen investigates the quietly subversive world of cartoonist William Heath Robinson, whose crazy contraptions send up the 20th century's blind faith in machines and technology. From his extraordinary cartoons of World War One which expose the absurdity of the technology of war to his mocking illustrations of middle class life-style and etiquette, Rosen reveals Heath Robinson as a suburban visionary.

2007x102 Tintin and Me

  • 2007-01-13T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about Belgium's greatest boy detective and his creator Herge, as related in a rare taped interview by journalist Numa Sadoul. Featuring groundbreaking animation in which footage of Herge is synchronised to fit the audio interview, plus an interview with Tintin expert, the late Harry Thompson.

2007x103 Happy Birthday Wullie!

  • 2007-09-23T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Ewan McGregor celebrates the 70th birthday of Scotland's most famous icon.

2007x104 Crab Claw Wars

  • 2007-10-07T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Presented by David Attenborough. After millions of years evolving at sea, crabs have found new ways to breathe, move, avoid enemies and prevent themselves from baking alive. For every challenge land poses the crabs have found a solution, from digging wells to developing lungs. But the biggest shock is how far they have reached - the middle of the desert!

2007x105 The Comedy Christmas

  • 2007-12-24T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

A celebration of the shows that have tickled our festive funnybones over the years, from the Morecambe and Wise and Mike Yarwood spectaculars of the 1960s and 70s, to the Only Fools and Horses specials of the 1990s. Plus more recent yuletide treats, such as The Royle Family and The Catherine Tate Show.

2007x106 1997: A Year on TV

  • 2007-03-11T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Highlights of TV coverage from the year that saw New Labour rise to power, the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the birth of Dolly, the first cloned sheep.

Using archive editions of Newsnight, the Nine O'Clock News and Question Time, Brian Hanrahan traces the chronology of the Falklands war from invasion through to final victory, including: news coverage of the Task Force setting off from the UK; the re-capture of South Georgia; the sinking of the Belgrano; the attack on HMS Sheffield; and the battle of Goose Green.

Presenters who feature in the original BBC coverage include Robin Day, Peter Snow, John Simpson and Donald McCormick.

2007x108 Victoria's Empire

  • 2007-04-29T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Victoria Wood goes in search of the legacy of British dominion over much of the globe as she tours the empire of her illustrious namesake. The multi award-winning writer and comedian finds an enduring British influence in Calcutta and Darjeeling in India, before heading for Hong Kong and Borneo.

Documentary which goes in search of the colliding worlds of pop and kids' TV, including the embarrassing moments, strange kids and bizarre incidents that illuminated the many facets of the genre. With interviews from past programme makers, presenters, pop stars and record company executives, including Sarah Greene, Mike Read, Stephen Gately, Tommy Boyd, Searchers and Emma Forbes.

Documentary following the final archaeological exploration of the interior of the largest man-made mound in Europe - Silbury Hill, one of our most mysterious prehistoric landmarks. It also tells the story of the people who built Silbury, people whose beliefs drove them to sculpt the landscape of the Avebury area, leaving a legacy of great structures.

Major discoveries help us to understand the monument, revealing that it was built when prehistoric Britain was on the brink of great change.

2007x111 Colin McRae: Born to Race

  • 2007-12-30T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The story of Colin McRae, the first British driver to win the World Rally Championship, is told by those who knew him best - his co-drivers Derek Ringer and Nicky Grist, the team bosses at Subaru, Ford and Citroen and his father Jimmy, himself a five-time British rally champion.

2007x112 When We Were Scouts

  • 2007-05-14T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Scouting movement, a celebrated roll call of former Guides, Scouts, Cubs and Brownies - including Cherie Blair, Ronnie Corbett, Betty Boothroyd and Arthur Smith - relive nights under canvas, fiddling with knots and singing around the campfire. Meanwhile, Neil Morrissey mucks in with some of today's Scouts for a weekend at camp. Plus, historical and classic comedy clips from the likes of Harry Enfield, the Goodies and Little Britain.

Should England have its own national anthem and should the song be Jerusalem? This documentary explores the enduring appeal of one of the nation's favourite hymns.

2007x114 How the Edwardians Spoke

  • 2007-05-06T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Our understanding of Edwardian Britain is dominated by images from flickering footage and formal family portraits. But a remarkable discovery has been made which for the first time gives voice to the Edwardians. Hundreds of recordings have come to light which reveal the accents and dialects of British Prisoners of War held in German camps and recorded during World War One. This archive presents a unique glimpse into the way ordinary men spoke at the time.

Joan Washington, a voice coach and expert in British accents, sets out to tell the story of these recordings and piece together how the Edwardians spoke. She returns to the hometowns of some of the prisoners to meet their families and play them the recordings. Listening with an expert ear to the differences between the voices of the prisoners and their families, Joan explores how far all our accents have changed over the century.

2007x115 New York Rock at the BBC

  • 2007-03-09T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

From the streets of New York City to the studios of the BBC comes the cream of the New York rock scene, including classic archive performances from the Ramones, New York Dolls, Television, Blondie, Lou Reed and many more.

Today New York is America's greatest city. But 30 years ago this summer, they couldn't even keep the lights on. A blackout plunged seven million people into darkness. Then the nightmare began. Anarchy exploded on the streets: thousands of shops were looted, whole neighbourhoods were burned, it seemed the civilisation of the city had come to an end.

Biography of British motor racing sensation Lewis Hamilton, which tells the story of his incredible rise to fame from humble beginnings in Stevenage to the glitz and glamour of formula one. Includes interviews with Murray Walker, Denise Lewis, Colin Murray, Maxi Jazz and Trevor Nelson.

Alan Titchmarsh presents a tribute to the influential gardener and writer, Christopher Lloyd, who died in January 2006, and who challenged the tyranny of good taste in the garden.

2007x119 My Small Breasts and I

  • 2006-08-29T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

My Small Breasts and I uncovers the complex, poignant, and sometimes amusing relationship women have with their tiny breasts.

Talking candidly, three women reveal how they really feel about their own bodies and the lengths to which they'll go to change their situation.

Sharon Tan is 28, and one of the three small-chested women featured on this film, seems the most well-adjusted. It isn’t clear whether this is because she’s naturally laid back or if her perspective was helped by having a boyfriend (Bronson) who’s clearly mad about her and happy to put up with no cuddles for 12 weeks while she stuffs her tits into a suction cup every night for 11 hours in an effort to swell them to a C cup.

Kate Bailey, 22 is said to be too scared to go out because she thinks everyone is looking at her. When she gets the chance to visit a phototherapist in New York however, she somehow manages to drag herself out to buy some new clothes, and the flight to the Big Apple doesn’t seem to daunt her overmuch either.

Laura Taylor has wanted a boob job since she was 14 but she can’t afford it. She’s discovered a website where men will help towards the cost in exchange for photos and emails from her. Armed with this potential source of income she visits a doctor to explore her implant options, and sits in on the surgery where a new-found friend is expanded to a D cup.

2007x120 Watching Desmond Morris

  • 2007-01-21T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about zoologist/anthropologist Desmond Morris. With contributions from experts such as Richard Dawkins, Oliver James and Morris's old friend David Attenborough, it asks how credible Morris's observations and conclusions really were in books such as The Naked Ape, and whether there is still anything to learn from studying humans in the way that he did.

2007x121 Thomas Telford

  • 2007-12-27T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Scot Thomas Telford is perhaps Britain's greatest engineer, and nowhere benefited more from his genius than Highland Scotland. 250 years on from his birth, scores of his creations still stand as testament to his achievements - roads, bridges, churches and the great Caledonian canal. This film reveals and celebrates Telford's Highland legacy.

2007x122 The Lost City of Craigavon

  • 2007-12-03T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

One of Northern Ireland's most engaging columnists and writers Newton Emerson takes a celebratory yet irreverent look at Craigavon, unearthing the original plans, meeting the evicted farmers and visiting the residents of the experimental city.

A look at the colourful lifestyle and inspiring music and lyrics of Shane MacGowan, former lead singer of the Pogues. Featuring specially-recorded performances of MacGowan's songs.

Drama based on the events of May 1915, when the passenger liner Lusitania was sunk just off the coast of Ireland by a single torpedo fired from the German submarine U-20 and almost 1,200 passengers and crew lost their lives.

Bitter controversy surrounded the sinking. Was the ship as innocent as she seemed? Had the British government secretly used a passenger ship to carry explosives? Worse still had Winston Churchill deliberately sacrificed then Lusitania to bring America into the war?

2007x125 Boys from the Brown Stuff

  • 2007-08-27T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

One flush and as if by magic our waste disappears forever, but hidden beneath our streets is a subterranean wonderland where everything we drop down the loo ends up. The boys from the brown stuff are the unsung heroes who pick up from where we leave off. Picking their way through build-ups of fat, with rats for company, it's their job to make sure our movements keep on moving all the way to the sewage treatment plant.

Documentary maker David Clews follows the men, known in the sewage trade as flushers, who work under the streets of London. For 150 years flushers have spent their working lives knee deep in excrement, a special band of brothers united in their goal to keep our streets faeces free and save us from infectious waste and diseases. They date back to times when men weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, a job was for life and a day’s work meant hard graft.

But times are changing for the flushers of London. Since privatisation and the introduction of modern machinery flusher numbers have plummeted. Once an army 900 strong, now there are only 39 left. One more is about to go, too, as Kenny, the boss, is retiring after 30 years of service.

And a new era is also about to begin. For the first time in years the next generation of flushers have been hired. But can the pampered young cope with life underground?

Documentary showing how drab post-war Britain was enlivened by the trad-jazz scene, which ballooned into our first mass youth culture, with thousands of young people dancing the night away in dimly light underground clubs, from Soho's infamous Cy Laurie Club to The Cavern Club in Liverpool.

George Melly relives his Rabelaisian youth on the road whilst revisiting some the pubs, clubs and concert halls he once played in. His hilarious stories of singing, drinking and sleeping his way around the country, staying in rotten B n B's and playing to University students are confirmed and embellished by interviews with fellow band members.

We learn how 50s Britain saw the emergence of two rival jazz groups - the modernist scene centred around professional bebop musicians Ronnie Scott and friends, and the more amateur raucous style of the trads. Trads wore oversized ex-army gear and duffel coats, drank beer and occasionally took speed to keep awake during their all night parties, whereas the modernists wore sharp suits and black dresses and some musicians dabbled with hard drugs.

The bouncer from Cy Laurie's club, Bill Palmer, and regular club goers describe how hundreds of strangely clad trad fans crammed into the club every weekend. Musician Laurie Morgan explains how Archer Street in Soho was the centre of activity for the emergent modernist scene.

2007x129 TV 73: The Defining Shows

  • 2007-08-04T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

1973 was the year when television realised its potential. Elvis Presley's Aloha from Hawaii became the first show with a global audience of one billion and the arrival of large-screen colour TV sets confirmed that as a domestic fixture, the television had come of age.

In this film, Mark Lawson looks back at five of the most popular programmes of the year - That's Life!, The Burke Specials, The Generation Game, The Onedin Line and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? - to consider what their success tells us about life in Britain at this time.

With contributions from the former controller of BBC One Bill Cotton, Likely Lads writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, drama producer Verity Lambert and television critic Chris Dunkley.

2007x130 The Story of the Ghost Story

  • 2007-01-08T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

A look at the cultural phenomenon of the ghost story, from folklore to the present.

Margy Kinmonth meets millionaire customers and world-famous designers as she explores the anachronistic but little-explained pocket of the fashion industry known as haute couture.

2007x132 How to Be an Ex-Prime Minister

  • 2007-06-24T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Michael Cockerell tells the story of how prime ministers have coped with life after Number Ten, after Tony Blair became the youngest member of the ex-PMs' club for a hundred years.

2007x133 The Lost World of Red Robbo

  • 2007-08-03T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary about the controversial 1970s union boss Derek Robinson, who led the British Leyland workers into a series of strikes.

Was Wales involved in the slave trade? Two hundred years after the trade was abolished, Sean Fletcher travels to Jamaica to look for clues.

2007x135 Beatlemania

  • 2007-01-12T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary which tells the inside story of the rise and fall of Beatlemania, using previously unseen archive footage and interviews with those who accompanied the Beatles on tour. By 1966 they had played over 1,400 gigs, toured the world four times and sold the equivalent of 200 million records. At the height of their popularity, and without warning, they pulled the plug and never toured again.

2007x136 Queens of Disco

  • 2007-03-06T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Graham Norton profiles the leading ladies of the disco era, including Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Madonna and 'honorary disco queen' Sylvester. Includes contributions from the queens themselves, plus Antonio 'Huggy Bear' Fargas, choreographer Arlene Phillips, songwriters Ashford and Simpson, disco artists Verdine White from Earth, Wind and Fire, Bonnie Pointer of The Pointer Sisters and Nile Rodgers of Chic.

2007x137 Greatest Raid of All Time

  • 2007-03-18T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary presented by Jeremy Clarkson on the raid of the German drydock facilities in St Nazaire, France. This was the only site capable of repairing the German battleship Tirpitz, due to it's size.

The St. Nazaire Raid (also called Operation Chariot) was a successful British seaborne attack on the heavily defended docks of St. Nazaire in occupied France on the night of March 28, 1942 during World War II. The operation was undertaken by Royal Navy and Army Commando units under the auspices of Louis Mountbatten's Combined Operations.

The obsolete destroyer HMS Campbeltown commanded by Stephen Halden Beattie and accompanied by 18 shallow draft boats, rammed the St. Nazaire lock gates and was blown up, ending use of the dock. Commandos landed on the docks and destroyed other dock structures before attempting to fight their way out. All but 27 of the commandos were either killed or captured: 22 escaped back to Britain in the motor torpedo boats and 5 to the Spanish border.

The loss of St. Nazaire as a dry dock would force any large German warship in need of repairs to have to return to home waters.

Five Victoria crosses were awarded to men involved in the raid, which has been called The Greatest Raid of All.

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