Documentary that attempts to solve the mystery surrounding Tutankhamun's death. Two leading US homicide detectives apply modern investigative techniques to try to find out who killed the boy-king. Uses reconstructions shot in Egypt, and 3-D computer animation.
Documentary looking at the British soldiers who turned against the Allies during the Second World War to join a Waffen SS unit called the British Free Corps, brainchild of English Nazi John Amery.
Documentary which follows the excavation of a Bronze Age village that was destroyed by volcanic activity from Vesuvius - some 2,000 years before the famous eruption that froze Pompeii in time.
Documentary which tells the tale of Barnes Wallis' 'bouncing bomb' which destroyed to German dams during the Second World War. Uses reconstructions, interviews, archive footage, and a fresh assessment of the technology involved.
German historian Lothar Machtan explores notions of Hitler's sexual identity. Combines archive footage, photographs and interviews with people such as Geoffrey Giles and Michelangelo Signorile.
Investigates the Hindenburg's crash as if it had happened today, using modern scientific methods. Considers the evidence that has survived from the official enquiry of 1937, as well as evidence gathered from other sources not used in this enquiry including more than 300 eyewitness statements. Challenges both the official conclusion and theories that have been put forward since then.
Documentary which follows the attempts of scientists to learn more about the sarcophagus which is believed to have inspired Bram Stoker's 'The Jewel of the Seven Stars' in which an egyptologist unearths a powerful Egyptian queen whose mummified body returns to wreak deadly revenge on the living. Also identifies the 'curse' that killed Lord Caernarvon, co-discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun, as biological rather than magical.
Documentary that looks into the past of Abba's Frida Lyngstad, who was an illegitimate child of a Nazi officer stationed in Norway.
Documentary on the mystery surrounding Marilyn Monroe's death. Many believe the Hollywood star did not commit suicide.
Documentary showing new evidence from archeologists for the 9,000 year-old mythical odyssey to seek the fabled Golden Fleece.
Documentary looking into the circumstances surrounding the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, speculating on whether it occurred through a fever or poisoning. Commander John Grieve of Scotland Yard investigates the historical details and information.
Documentary in which engineer Bashar Altabba looks at the building of the Thai-Burma railway during World War II. Besides the engineering side it also covers the appalling treatment and conditions of the Allied prisoners of war who forced to construct the railway line by the Japanese. Includes interviews with some of the survivors.
Documentary about Roman gladiators, considering their place in society, what they did, their fighting styles, training and diet.
Documentary about the search for ‘Dick’, the escape tunnel the Germans never found – combining archaeology, first-hand testimony and drama reconstructions.
They were conceived and created to become the world's biggest, grandest and safest: the Olympic, Titanic and Britannic. Sold as the ships that would never sink, all three were involved in maritime disasters soon after launching. Includes a new forensic examination of the wreck of the Britannic and explores areas deep inside her massive interior, unseen and undisturbed since the day of her sinking, to reveal incredible new evidence proving what caused the ship to go down.
Criminal profiler Pat Brown leads an investigation into the death of Cleopatra and uncovers facts that point to her having been murdered by poison or other means rather than committing suicide using a snake.
Documentary unravelling the mysteries of the Sphinx. Thousands of years after the Sphinx was cut from the bedrock, an investigation team lead by world-leading experts piece together its incredible story. Using groundbreaking technology and the latest historical reasearch, the team bring to life one of the most famous monuments in history, re-creating its original painted face and revealing the true story behind it.
Documentary looking at the increase in crime in Britain, and particularly London, during the Second World War, with a black market evolving with rationing, and opportunities to make money through forgery, looting, and robbery. Looks at how criminals took advantage of the blackout and empty houses whilst the inhabitants were in the air raid shelters, and the problems caused by former policemen being conscripted into the armed forces and temporary less experienced officers taking their place, and by large numbers of deserters and men avoiding conscription, who often fell into crime and the black market in order to live. Also, the rise in prostitution. Includes interviews with former policemen,thieves and criminals of the time, including Mad Frankie Fraser, Spud Murphy, and Roy Hill.
In the closing months of World War II, defeat was looming for the Germans. The invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day -- opened a second Allied front, and the Allies began overtaking a host of German positions; Paris was liberated on August 25; Romania and Bulgaria surrendered in quick succession. But the Nazis did not intend to go down without a fight -- and without inflicting as much damage as possible on the Allies. To do so, they employed or planned to employ an increasingly deadly array of military weapons -- from ballistic missiles to rocket planes to, perhaps, the atomic bomb. The British, American, and Russian governments were not content to sit idly by, waiting to be slammed by the advanced technology. Covert teams of commandos and agents were sent ahead of the front lines and deep into Germany, hunting for both the weapons and the scientists and engineers who'd created them. For British and American operatives, failure was not an option. If they didn't capture the Nazi technology and scientists, agents of the burgeoning Soviet Union might -- and that could spell disaster in a post-war world already feeling the chill of the impending cold war.
Documentary about the huge and powerful Second World War German battleship Tirpitz, and the Allied hunt for it throughout the Atlantic and Arctic, making thirty-six attempts to sink it. The Tirpitz was the Third Reich's ultimate weapon - the most successful German battleship of WWII. This documentary recreates the five-year struggle to destroy Hitler's biggest battleship, with American, Canadian and British survivors and their counterparts in the Forces today.
Documentary about the story of Hannibal and his famous journey from North Africa with his elephants across the Alps to attack Rome in the third century BC. Utilises historical, scientific and archaeological sources and evidence.
This documentary recounts a desperate tale of the doomed Franklin expedition and the equally desperate struggle to find out what went wrong. In 1845, Sir John Franklin, with two ships and 132 men, set out to find a route to Asia through the arctic – the fabled Northwest Passage. They never returned. Why the expedition failed became an enduring mystery. After 150 years, Franklin's records are still missing and the search for his ships and the graves of his men continues.
Looks at the story and history of Boudicca and the Iceni during the Roman occupation, and follows archaeological digs and finds in Norfolk associated with her and her tribe.
An update of January 2005's Beyond the Da Vinci Code.
Documentary looking at the rise of the dating agency in Britain since the 1930s. Considers the secrecy and shame attached to use of the early agencies, and how changing attitudes of society in the 1960s and 1970s led to greater openess and acceptance. Also looks at the very first computer dating agency. Includes interviews with those who used or ran the agencies, and archive footage.
Over 20 years before The Da Vinci Code (2003) , Henry Lincoln shocked the world with the possibility that Christ had fathered a child. Always controversial, he now explains the origins of ‘The Code’ and reveals the results of his ongoing research. From France to the Baltic Sea, he reaches startling new conclusions about our ancestors.
Documentary combining a present-tense investigation in a wintery Sofia with drama reconstructions shot on Super 16mm, and a fresh telling of the notorious ‘Umbrella Murder’ of Georgi Markov in 1978.
Documentary about the 1966 England World Cup squad and manager Alf Ramsey and how they reached the finals and won the cup. Follows the squad selections, tactics and games, using archive colour footage and interviewing surviving members of the squad.
Documentary telling the inside story of how Marks & Spencers declined and decreased in popularity over four years from 1998. Considers some of the reasons and changes in top personnel and the attempts to turn the company round.
A look at the famed love affair between Elizabeth 1 and Robert Dudley - and the shocking claim that she bore him a son.
The historical documentary strand revisits one of the most shocking events of the 20th century with a fresh examination of the assassination of John F Kennedy. A three-year investigation across four countries by award-winning German filmmaker Wilfrid Huismann has revealed what may be the missing link between JFK’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Cuban secret service.
Criminal psychologist at New Scotland Yard Laura Richard uses modern investigation techniques to try and build a portrait of the Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper. She and other experts, including a pathologist, historian, profiler and policeman, examine the crimes and try and establish why the particular victims were chosen, and the possible motivations and reasons for the crimes.
A professional lip reader, aided by modern technology, reveals what Hitler is saying in the silent home movies Eva Braun took of him.
The Korean War was one of the most significant air wars of all time, marking the beginning of the jet age and the end of the dogfight era. During the war over 30 British and American fighter pilots disappeared whilst flying the brand new F-86 Sabre jet. This is the story of the quest to reveal their fate.
JFK enjoyed a number of sexual liaisons that could have ended his political career, but his brother Bobby always managed to keep the truth from the press. This explosive documentary focuses on four women who could have ended JFK’s presidency, and the deal the brothers made with J Edgar Hoover to stay in power.
Myra Hindley's cool attitude while on trial for the Moors Murders gave her a reputation for being a monster, but what was she like when she was actually in jail?
A documentary offering a portrait of Mao Tse-Tung, one of the 20th century’s most controversial leaders. Author and former BBC correspondent Philip Short looks at Mao’s life from his childhood and rise to power to his death in 1976. The programme examines the legacy of Mao’s rule of China and features exclusive interviews with some of Mao’s inner circle, as well as dramatic unseen footage from the period of the ‘cultural revolution‘
This documentary shows how the Italian dictator drew on support at home and abroad to embark on military conflicts in Libya, Ethiopia and Spain before his catastrophic alliance with Hitler led to his eventual downfall.
Come on a journey to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings where a new tomb has been revealed containing a tiny infant-sized gold coffin. This is the first tomb discovered in this famous area in over 80 years. Dr. Otto Schaden and the University of Memphis led a team of world-renowned archaeologists on the expedition that revealed this surprise find and a number of other treasures.
To the watching world, the 32-year-old heir to the throne and his fresh-faced 20-year-old bride were a picture-perfect couple who would secure the future of the Royal Family. However, Charles and Diana’s 1981 marriage was not quite the fairytale that it seemed, and was plagued by family pressure, whispers of infidelity and scandal. This documentary, part of Five’s Revealed strand, uses testimony of those who were there to delve deeper and ask: was the wedding of the century doomed from the start?
The criminal highwayman Dick Turpin has become a romantic figure over the years but now the man behind the myth is exposed. The 18th-century robber has enjoyed an idealised reputation as a gentleman and a swashbuckling hero who stole from the rich and was as devoted to the ladies as he was his horse Black Bess. But the truth appears to be something much more sinister. This documentary special sheds new light on the thief and suggests that he was a brutal, thuggish criminal who was anything but gallant.
Historical documentary focusing on the Aztec Empire. Between the 14th and the 16th century, the Aztecs dominated the lands of present-day Mexico, until the arrival of the Spanish brought their world to a sudden end. This film probes the mystery behind 400 dismembered bodies unearthed in the ruins of an Aztec city. Knife cuts and teeth marks on the bones indicate that the victims’ flesh was stripped off and eaten. But who were these victims and why did they meet such a terrible fate?
This programme revisits the dark days of the Cold War with a startling examination of East Germany’s secret programme to feed its top female athletes with untested drugs. For decades, the communist GDR state administered harmful drugs to thousands of young women in a desperate and dangerous bid to achieve sporting excellence.
This programme uncovers the true story of an audacious escape from Auschwitz by two young Slovak Jews in 1944 – an event which alerted the world to the horror of the Nazi concentration camps.
An insightful investigation into the infamous chapter of maritime history known as The Mutiny on the Bounty. Mark Arundel is the great, great, great, great, great grandson of Captain Bligh, and he questions whether hero and villain status has been correctly apportioned. In films, TV dramatisations, and more than two thousand books, the popular approach has been to portray Bligh as a vicious tyrant, and Fletcher Christian, the lead mutineer, as a noble romantic. Can Mark’s findings turn popular misconception on its head?
It is now 26 years since the Yorkshire Ripper was arrested in Sheffield for murdering 13 women and attacking a further seven. Claiming to have staged his attacks after hearing a message from God, Peter Sutcliffe pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied murder. However, the jury refused to accept that he suffered from schizophrenia, and Sutcliffe was given 20 life sentences.
Told for the first time, the extraordinary story of how heroic nuns, the Polish Resistance and a game of chess saved one Jewish family from the Holocaust.
Lord Carnarvon, the great-grandson of one of the men who discovered the tomb, travels across Egypt on a quest to reexamine the life of the Boy King. With the help of archaeological discoveries, computer graphics and new historical research, he presents a portrait of Tutankhamun that challenges pre-conceived wisdom about the famous but enigmatic pharaoh.
Historical documentary focusing on the famous Second World War Dambusters raid. George Johnson - a bomb aimer in one of the raid's Lancasters and one of only two British Dambusters alive today - sets off on a final mission to rediscover his past. He finds and digs up his old Dambuster bomber, before travelling back to the giant German dams that he once attacked.
The historical documentary series continues with this fascinating investigation into the origins of the world-famous crystal skulls. Since the 19th century, a number of lifelike quartz skulls have been discovered and displayed in museums. These relics, allegedly dating from Aztec and Mayan civilisations, are believed to have psychic powers. Now, for the first time ever, scientists are given access to the most famous skull of all, the so-called ‘Skull of Doom’.
Dr Crippen was hanged for the murder of his wife, but new DNA evidence suggests the body parts found in his kitchen may have belonged to a man
Mrs Alice Keppel - the long term mistress of King Edward VII. Alice was hailed as one of the great beauties of the Naughty Nineties, renowned for her narrow waist and ample bosom. She was the perfect royal mistress; charming, intelligent, gorgeous and above all else, discrete. Set against a scintillating background of aristocratic adultery, historian Kate Williams uncovers Alice’s incredible story – investigating the magical childhood in Scotland that honed her ambition and the marriage to George Keppel that actually thrived on infidelity.
Historical documentary exploring a network of Nazi bunkers in Berlin. Historian Antony Beevor returns to the German capital to uncover this lost world, hidden from view since 1945.
Are new remains in Russia those of the two children missing from the grave of the Russian Royal Family assassinated in 1918?
In Central Europe, 38,000 years ago a man lies dead in a cave - who is he? How did he die? Today, all that's left of him is a fragment of leg bone and this bone has a story to tell.
Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, sank in 1545 when its gun ports flooded during an engagement with the French. Because silt preserved the wreck, it became Britain's Pompeii - an historical moment frozen in time. Some 10,000 human bones from the 400 men on board were recovered, which are now giving up their secrets. The captain had described his crew as a bunch of unruly knaves; forensic examination of the enamel from their teeth shows that up to two thirds of these knaves were likely to have been mercenaries from southern Europe. In the chaos of battle, there may have been a language problem over “shut that bloody gun port!”
From the 1950s, the Queen's younger sister was the glamorous face of the Royal Family, but interest in her life gave rise to the paparazzi and destroyed historic deferential attitudes forever. This documentary examines the tabloid intrusion into Princess Margaret's private life and its effects on her and subsequent high profile figures such as Princess Diana.
Historical documentary examining Britain's ancient Druids, as new archaeological discoveries suggest that they engaged in barbaric killings, ritual sacrifice and even cannibalism. The programme also explores the Druids' revered status amongst ancient Celts, and tells the story of their bloody last stand against Rome's conquering legions.
n December 1872, the merchant ship The Mary Celeste was found drifting deserted in the mid Atlantic Ocean. She was a ghost ship with no sign of her captain or the eight crew aboard, but mysteriously, her cargo of 1700 barrels of pure alcohol was intact in her hull. The mystery of her plight has stood for 135 years, baffling scientists, historians and mariners. Now a descendant of the ship's captain has a look at evidence that throws some fascinating new light on what really happened.
In this programme, former-tabloid editor, Kelvin Mackenzie re-examines the Ripper murders, uncovers startling documentary evidence and identifies a new set of suspects; the crooked journalists who faked evidence, printed fantasy and mislead the police investigation, all to keep the Ripper murders on their front pages.
In 1988, scientists ran a series of tests on the shroud of Turin, the Christian relic said to be the cloth in which the body of Christ was swathed after his death. The results dated the material's origins to the early 14th century, proving it to be a fake. In this documentary, historian Emily Craig examines claims that Leonardo Da Vinci was commissioned by members of a powerful Italian dynasty to produce the artefact, and used a primitive form of camera to create the image.
In the 60s British cinema audiences were transfixed as James Bond foiled the evil plans of a villain called ‘Goldfinger’. Little did they know that Goldfinger’s plot to break into Fort Knox was not just a work of fiction, but a version of a true story that happened in London in 1914… In this programme, new documentary evidence uncovered by historian Andrew Cook, reveals that the ‘Real Goldfinger’, was a cunning German Spymaster, who planned to blow up the Bank of England and devastate the British Economy on the eve of the First World War …
Edward VIII is remembered as the British King who gave up the throne to marry the woman he loved: American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Declassified FBI files suggest another story that Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson were pro-German, that they maintained contact with Nazi Germany early in the war and may have leaked secrets to the enemy, and that Hitler wanted to see Edward return to England as his puppet king.
Recently uncovered archive footage from the 1960s shows late explorer Edmundo Bielawski's shocking encounter with Amazon Headshrinkers. Amazonian Indians would shrink the head of an enemy to take away the power of the victim's vengeful soul. The headshrinking process was thought never to have been captured on film - until now. Author and explorer Piers Gibbon ventures deep into the Amazon rainforest in search of the location and people involved, to determine if the footage could be genuine.
Archeologists explore the remains of what they believe to be Blackbeard's flagship, The Queen Anne's Revenge, and hypothosise that he may have deliberately destroyed the ship in order to steal its cargo.
Documentary about Herman Goering's brother Albert.
Documentary exploring how morale was monitored in the Blitz.
The remarkable story of Nicholas Winton.
Documentary focusing on former US president John F Kennedy's alleged obsession with sex.
Mark Logue, grandson of Lionel Logue – the pioneering speech therapist celebrated in ‘The King’s Speech’ – goes on a cross-continental journey to discover the life of his fascinating grandfather and the unique experiences he had with the royal family. As curator of the Logue family archive, Mark has a wealth of material at his fingertips, including family photographs and letters between Lionel and King George VI. All of these intriguing timecapsules unlock a past that was completely hidden until recently. Mark investigates every period of Lionel’s life, from his early stage career in Australia to his arrival in London, and his tutorship of an amazing royal patient. Lionel witnessed King George VI’s rise – from his time as Duke of York, through the abdication crisis, to his unexpected elevation to king. Throughout this period Lionel was aware that he was witnessing history unfold and he meticulously kept diary notes of every time he visited the royal couple – recording everything from what Queen Elizabeth was wearing, to jokes the king made. He also kept personal letters between himself and the king, showing their tender friendship, trust and loyalty. Mark then visits the acclaimed actor Geoffrey Rush – who portrays Lionel in the film – to find out how he used the diary entries to interpret the character. He also meets the movie’s screenwriter David Seidler to find out how he carved the story from the mass of materials available, and the method he used to tell the wider story of the abdication crisis through the story of the two men’s relationship.
On August 8 1963, a Royal Mail train was making its way to London from Glasgow. It was intercepted at Ledburn, Bucks by a gang of masked men who escaped with £2.6million, equivalent to at least £50million in today’s money. The incident would enter British folklore as 'The Great Train Robbery'. The police took just a few weeks to find the gang members, arrest them and put them behind bars, and their work was hailed as the pinnacle of policing. However, three months into a 30-year sentence, Ronnie Biggs, one of the gang members, escaped from Wandsworth prison and overnight became Britain’s most wanted man. The police and the establishment were left embarrassed, and ordinary people started to root for this antihero. The media rolled out the Biggs story like a soap opera – and he has rarely been out of the media ever since. Despite his notoriety, the truth behind his escape has remained a mystery. Biggs has been involved with a number of heavily managed appearances and sensationalised interviews for the tabloid press. However, none of these has revealed anything new or got remotely close to finding out what Ronnie really got up to in his years in exile. Now, over four hours of previously unheard tapes recorded by ‘Daily Express’ journalist Colin Mackenzie – who tracked him down in Rio, Brazil in 1974 – reveal the real Ronnie Biggs for the first time.
Ninety-one-year-old veteran soldier Alistair Urquhart opens up about his experiences during the Second World War - an astonishing story of determination and stamina that saw him survive while so many others perished. Having been captured by the Japanese, the former Gordon Highlander was tortured, starved and put to work on Burma's infamous `Death Railway', bundled onto a Japanese `hell ship' that was sunk by an American torpedo and imprisoned near Nagasaki as the atom bomb fell.
In this special film commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, children who lost a parent speak for the first time as adults. All of them experienced the same tragedy; each has responded in a remarkably different way. The film features four families who, between them, lost three fathers and a mother.
With exclusive access to the latest finds, archaeologists piece together intriguing and often gruesome evidence that our fear of vampires goes back thousands of years.
In the 200 years since the American Revolution, the United States and Great Britain have moved from enemies to firm allies. This documentary follows military experts and historians as they work through the top secret 'War Plan Red' to see how a hypothetical battle between America and Great Britain might have unfolded.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the world’s biggest bomb blast, this documentary draws on new forensic investigation and meteorological analyses to reveal the true story behind the Cold War race to build the world's most powerful weapon. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States led the way - but then left the field clear for the Soviet Union to set off the world’s biggest ever explosion,which took place on October 30th, 1961. Along the way billions of dollars and roubles were spent, Pacific islanders were driven from their homes, and military and civilians alike were unwittingly exposed to huge doses of radiation. With first-hand testimony from American eyewitnesses and inhabitants of the islands, and modern scientific forensics, it is revealed for the first time what happened and the real reasons why the US scientists misjudged the potential power behind their early H bomb tests, resulting in three small islands being vaporised and severe radioactive fallout spreading over nearby inhabited islands.
Documentary revealing how German hatred of the men they dubbed 'Terror Fliers' led to some downed pilots being sent not to POW camps, but to concentration camps.
The bizarre story of a forgotten propaganda film made by the Nazis about the sinking of the Titanic. Made at the height of World War II, this film was conceived as the ultimate propaganda movie with the famous disaster recast as a story of Allied weakness and German courage. At the time it was one of the most expensive and ambitious movies ever filmed. The story of its creation rivals a Hollywood movie script with tales of betrayal, murder and massacre. It featured military personnel moved from the front to act as extras, the director was arrested and possibly executed on the orders of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and, in the last days of the war, the ship used for the filming was sank, as the Nazis tried to cover up the horrors of the Holocaust. For 60 years, the film was shrouded in secrecy. Now, using Goebbels’s private diaries, unseen home-movies shot behind-the-scenes during the production and the original production design book, we reveal for the first time the extraordinary story of the Nazi Titanic.
On April 2nd 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic, 8,000 miles from the UK. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to send a naval taskforce to liberate the islands. In this programme, senior officers who served in the campaign, among them Major-General Julian Thompson, reveal how appalling weather, overstretched British air defences, poor communications and even incompetence sometimes stacked the odds heavily against the British. Veterans of some of the bloodiest battles talk us through the fighting. Their personal accounts reveal how professionalism and sheer courage overcame these problems. The film reveals chilling parallels with current government budget cuts. In 1982, Defence Minister John Nott was on the brink of scrapping Britain’s amphibious warfare capabilities. If the Argentinians had invaded just eight weeks later, the ships and equipment needed for the operation would already have been decommissioned. There are also shocking accounts of British warships destroyed by Argentinian bombs, men burnt alive, bombs crashing through the decks of ships, night attacks up mountainous slopes and merciless hand-to-hand fighting, all made worse by unsuitable equipment and shortages of helicopters. By explaining the hair-raising realities of individual battles, this programme sheds new light on a decisive and historic British victory.
How did a rehearsal for D-Day on a sleepy stretch of the Devon coast turn into a bloodbath resulting in the death of hundreds of Allied soldiers? 'Exercise Tiger' was the Allies' worst training disaster of the 20th century - a combination of allied incompetence and enemy infiltration that was hushed up until 1984. Survivor and eye-witness accounts, top-secret documents, film archive and findings from underwater excavations help to reveal the secrecy and conflicting evidence that persists to this day.
The story of how a small band of pioneering aircraft designers and engineers invented modern warfare in the four years between 1914 and 1918, turning the aeroplane from an eccentric novelty to the decisive weapon of modern conflict. The programme includes a series of dazzling aerial experiments, as present-day test pilots push the meticulously re-created planes to the limit. On both sides of the war, experimental engineers scrabbled for superiority of the skies, with British pioneers like Geoffrey de Havilland competing to out do Anton Fokker, the Dutchman whose planes helped Germany to dominate the sky. These were men working in the dark with a brand-new technology, battling the scepticism of their superiors while the fate of thousands of men rested on their ability to beat the enemy to the next engineering breakthrough. Demonstrations and experiments with the aviators show the mechanical evolution of military air power by the Allies and Germany to reveal how visionary technology saw the emergence of the first fighter planes and a major shift in modern warfare. The rivalry between German and Allied engineers pushed the planes to new heights. We see how the need for accurate sketches led to changes in planes, how complications with air-to-ground communications led to advanced radios and, crucially, how the need to protect the pilots led to race for plane armament and the development of the first all-purpose fighter plane. With no living survivors from the Great War, the experiences and knowledge from the Vintage Aviators flying and making these machines provide an opportunity to reveal these unsung heroes of World War I, and how the most pioneering branch of the military played a crucial part in winning the war.
Find out how a group of experts pieced together the complex history of a priceless gold Celtic cauldron found at the bottom of a lake in Bavaria, and its connections with a number of notorious historical figures. They examine why it may be linked to Adolf Hitler's search for the Holy Grail and Heinrich Himmler's shrine to the SS as well as the Mafia and an international fraud trial where millions of dollars are at stake.
In the late 16th century Europe was in the grip of a ferocious witch hunt, where thousands were tortured and burnt at the stake. The church was fully behind this terrifying crusade against the imaginary enemies of Christianity. In France and Germany alone up to 40,000 people may have been killed as witches. But England and Scotland were almost untouched by witch persecutions until King James himself decided to launch his own, personal war on witchcraft. In 1597 King James VI of Scotland published 'Daemonology', a handbook on how to recognise and destroy, witches. The book explored the threat that 'those Detestable slaves of the Devil', posed to James himself. It fuelled waves of witch hunting throughout Britain. The legacy of James' 'Daemonology' continued throughout the 17th century, and led to the torture and execution of hundreds of women in a series of infamous witch trials. No-one knows exactly how many men and women died in these trials, such as the Pendle trial of 1612, or how many others were killed in cases that never came to court. The documentary reveals the purges in many areas of Britain drew directly on King James' book. Also for the first time, remarkable new archaeological evidence from Cornwall, suggests that witchcraft was actively practiced for centuries, even during the most intense periods of witch-hunting. Experimental archaeologist Jacqui Wood has excavated strange pits lined with swan's feathers, and filled with animal skins and human remains. She believes the pits were ritual offerings inspired by witchcraft beliefs.
As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this film reveals an unnerving and long-hidden side to the events of October 1962. Today, the public remembers Kennedy and Khrushchev's public battle of wills. However, away from the spotlight of global politics, this programme reveals a shocking drama on board a Russian submarine, which brought the world closer to World War III than anyone had ever thought. As the world held its breath, four Soviet submarines sailed for Cuba while the might of the US Navy was unleashed to hunt them down. On 27th October, with the crisis at its height, the two made contact. Surrounded by hunter-killer groups depth-charging his submarine to drive it to the surface, Captain Savitsky panicked. Unable to contact Moscow and fearing the war had begun, he ordered the launch of his 'special weapon' – a nuclear torpedo with the same payload as the bomb that devastated Hiroshima. Along with Savitsky, two other men had to authorise the fire – the political officer Masslenikov and the chief of staff, Arkhipov. With temperatures reaching 120ºF and CO2 levels growing dangerously high, Masslenikov agreed. All they needed to unleash nuclear Armageddon was the say-so of one man. The story of what happened that fateful day remained hidden for decades, only emerging in Russia in recent years. With brand-new eye witness accounts, the first ever TV interview with Arkhipov's widow and dramatic reconstruction, this documentary reveals the actions of Vasili Arkhipov, the man who saved the world.