Timewatch Episode Guide

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  • Episode Guide 143 episodes

Episode Guide

Timewatch: Season 30

  • Season 30 Episode 5: WWI Aces Falling

    The story of Edward Mannock and James McCudden, the British fighter pilots who rose from modest backgrounds to become two of the country's greatest First World War aces. But as their tally of victories grew, so did their chances of dying. Timewatch recounts Mannock and McCudden's battle to survive against the odds - and the 90-year mystery surrounding their deaths

  • Season 30 Episode 4: Captain Cook - The Man Behind the Legend

    Vanessa Collingridge profiles the famous 18th-century navigator and chart-maker, who is regarded in some quarters as the greatest explorer in history, and in others as a ruthless conqueror. Following in his footsteps, she sets out to uncover the forces that drove him to success - and ultimately to his death

  • Season 30 Episode 3: The Real Bonnie and Clyde

    Documentary about notorious American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. With unprecedented access to gang members' memoirs, family archives and recently released police records, Timewatch searches for the true story of the couple and their mob. While Hollywood portrayed the pair as the most glamorous outlaws in American history, the reality of life on the run was one of violence, hardship and danger. Narrated by Michael Praed

  • Season 30 Episode 2: QE2 - The Final Voyage

    Documentary following the history and farewell voyage of RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, the world's longest-serving cruise ship, which was launched in 1967 and decommissioned in November 2008. Timewatch travels to Southampton for the QE2's last-ever trip, joining crew and passengers to recall her humble beginnings and eventful service record. With contributions by Ben Kingsley, Jimmy Savile, Tony Curtis and Simon Weston

Timewatch: Season 29

  • Season 29 Episode 6: The Last Day of World War One

    Michael Palin travels to the battlefields of northern Europe to tell the story of the day the Armistice was signed. He discovers that the final hours of the war were some of the most brutal, killing or wounding up to 11,000 soldiers - a higher figure than on D-Day. His journey takes him from Verdun, and the Argonne - where the soil is still full of guns, bullets and personal artefacts of the fallen US soldiers - to the banks of the Sambre Canal, where 2,000 British soldiers - including war poet Wilfred Owen - lost their lives that morning. Last in the series. Part of the 1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance season

  • Season 29 Episode 1: Stonehenge: Timewatch

    An investigation into whether the ancient Wiltshire location was used as a place of healing in the Bronze Age, rather than as a burial ground as is often assumed. Following the first dig at the site for more than 50 years, archaeologists use forensic testing of bones to see if they can find any evidence in support of their theory

Timewatch: Season 25

  • Season 25 Episode 6: Timewatch - The Princess Spy

    Timewatch tells the story of secret agent Noor Inayat Khan, who was employed by the British in 1943. Hoping to infiltrate Nazi-occupied Paris, the Prime Minister sent her on a mission he never expected her to survive. Despite being captured, she refused to betray the Allies, even under torture

Timewatch: Season 23

  • Season 23 Episode 4: Inside the Mind of Adolf Hitler

    An analysis of the work of a team of Harvard psychologists, who in 1943 were asked by the American government to draw up a profile of Adolf Hitler. They postulated a disturbing cocktail of abuse and obsession, on which they based a number of startling predictions - some of which proved cannily accurate

Timewatch: Other Episodes

  • Timewatch - The People's Coronation

    Stories behind the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in June 1953, the greatest-ever spectacle staged in Britain. Three million people lined the streets of London, while 17 million attended parties up and down the country. The 1,000-year-old ceremony was also televised for the first time. Last in series

  • The First Blitz

    Zeppelin bombing raids throughout London and southeast England were the first terror attacks to hit Britain.

  • Secrets of the Hadrian's Wall

    A stone and turf fortification built across northern England, Hadrian's Wall measures 73 miles-long, 20 feet high and ten feet thick.

  • The Killer Wave of 1607
  • Princess Margaret - A Love Story

    The scandal that developed in the 1950s surrounding Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorcee twice her age. Following an innocuous gesture at the Queen's coronation in 1953, rumours spread about a possible relationship between the pair, but while the British public supported talk of marriage, the Establishment successfully persuaded her to choose duty over the man she loved

  • Flames of War

    The horrors of the English Civil War, told using letters, diaries and memoirs of ordinary people from the 17th century

  • The Lost Liner and the Empire's Gold

    The passenger liner Persia is torpedoed on 30 December, 1915.

  • Chairman Mao : The Last Emperor

    Profile of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, the man behind China's Cultural Revolution and one of the 20th century's bloodiest tyrants

  • Banking with Hitler

    How an investigation into Nazi finances by US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau uncovered many British and American high-street names had been dealing with Hitler's Germany throughout World War Two

  • The Mysteries of the Medieval Ship

    Documentary charting the discovery of Britain's first well-preserved medieval merchant ship deep in the alluvial banks of the River Usk. Experts Kate Hunter and Nigel Nayling race against time to raise and conserve this rare and magnificent find, while exploring the vessel's chequered history, following a trail of artefacts from the bloody era of the Wars of the Roses to the door of one of England's most powerful noblemen

  • A Very British Mutiny

    Documentary examining the circumstances surrounding the largest mutiny in British military history, when 191 troops refused to fight alongside the American Fifth Army in Italy during 1943

  • How Mad Was King George?

    Documentary profiling the life of Britain's longest reigning king, George III, denounced as mad by contemporaries and historians, owing to his erratic behaviour while suffering a painful metabolic condition. Prince Charles is among those seeking to restore the monarch to his proper place in history, as diaries, letters and expert analysis paint a picture of a devoted family man, whose 60-year reign culminated in his being heralded as 'the father of the people', while scientists explode the myths surrounding his illness

  • 1914: The War Revolution

    The first action involving the British in World War One was a skirmish of German lances against swords : but within eight weeks the war had been transformed into a bloody stalemate that would last for three years. Timewatch follows the story of the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, the first cavalry squadron called into action as hostilities began, and the first to adapt to the new conditions of total war

  • Rocket and Its Rivals

    An ambitious restaging of the Rainhill Locomotive Trials using replica engines, providing the rivals of Stephenson's Rocket with a fair chance to beat the famous locomotive : which won the original 1829 competition by default. Through this remarkable event, the story of the world's first inter-city railway is told : a tale of innovation and brinkmanship

  • Through Hell for Hitler

    Drama-documentary chronicling the exploits of former German Panzer driver Henry Metelmann, who was conscripted to fight for the Fatherland in World War Two. Transformed from idealistic Hitler Youth to battle-hardened soldier, he was responsible for the deaths of surrendering fighters and innocent civilians, only surviving the Russian Front through a combination of luck and cowardice. Directed by Jonathan Hacker and starring Ben Silverstone

  • Gallipoli: The First D-Day

    A re-examination of the Gallipoli landings, which were designed to break the deadlock of the 1915 Western Front, but became a massive blunder claiming 250,000 Allied casualties and almost destroying Churchill's burgeoning political career. Featuring underwater footage of sunken British battleships, and interviews with relatives of those who fought and died

  • Britain's Greatest Hoax

    Scientists go in search of the truth behind the mystery of the infamous Piltdown Man hoax, which saw a jawbone and skull, hailed as the 'missing link' between apes and humans, finally denounced as fakes. Experts evaluate the evidence against one of the alleged conspirators Arthur Conan Doyle, unearth the fossils' discoverer Charles Dawson's unsavoury past and probe a suspicious connection between rival departments within the Natural History Museum

  • Mystery of the Missing Ace

    Profile of World War Two flying ace Adrian Warburton, nicknamed the 'Lawrence of Arabia of the sky', who vanished on a controversial reconnaissance mission for the United States. For decades, speculation was rife about the reasons behind his dramatic disappearance, but it wasn't until 2002 that a team of experts unravelled the mystery of Warburton's fate, finally allowing his remains to be buried

  • The Greatest Storm
  • Zulu: The True Story

    How the battle at Rorke's Drift in 1879 was allegedly used to cover up the British Army's most humiliating defeat during the Zulu War. The battle at Isandlwana, which took place on the same day as its more celebrated counterpart, saw Africans bearing only crude spears rout Queen Victoria's heavily armed forces after a series of military blunders. Reconstructions of battles, dramatisations of the monarch's journals and descendants of survivors tell a story of unprovoked slaughter, deceit and guilt which leads all the way to the highest circles

  • Concorde : A Love Story

    The inside story of how Concorde overcame all odds to become the fastest and most recognisable passenger plane in the world, and the surprising impact of September 11 on the last years of its service. Featuring interviews with former pilots, engineers, stewardesses and celebrity devotees David Frost and Henry Kissinger, who pay tribute to their favourite mode of transport

  • Walden on Heroes : JFK

    Brian Walden focuses on the life of former American president John F Kennedy

  • The Lost Cities of the Maya

    After ruling for more than 1,000 years and becoming masters of astronomy and architecture, the Maya abandoned their cities in the Central American jungle and vanished, creating one of history's most enduring mysteries. Here, archaeologist Kathryn Reese-Taylor and her team of international experts journey into the snake-infested Guatemalan jungle to uncover the reasons behind the ancient civilisation's collapse, hoping that the discovery of the lost city of Naachtun will answer the 1,000-year-old riddle

  • The Forgotten Volunteers

    Documentary about the two and a half million Indians who fought for Britain during World War Two, but whose heroism was forgotten when they returned home

  • Woolly Al Walks the Kitty Back

    General Basilio Lami Dozo discusses the Falklands invasion, and former US secretary of state Alexander Haig talks about his attempts to avert the war

  • Evidence of Vikings

    Exploring the myth and propaganda behind the Vikings' bloodthirsty reputation, including an investigation into their methods of navigation

  • Cuban Missile Crisis : Eyeball to Eyeball

    Conclusion of the two-part documentary charting the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Why did John F Kennedy order a blockade of the island, and what prompted the Russians to shoot down an American spy plane?

  • Cuban Missile Crisis : Defying Uncle Sam

    Part one. Why Russian premier Khrushchev decided to protect Cuba with nuclear missiles

  • Russia's Secret War

    Russia's intimate involvement in the Korean War, from the 70,000 Soviet military who took part to the illegal interrogation of captured pilots

  • In Search of Cleopatra

    Investigating the truth behind the legendary beauty Cleopatra, considering whether her image as a seductress is more fiction than fact

  • Hannibal and Desert Storm

    General Norman Schwarzkopf reveals the military tactics of Carthaginian commander Hannibal, who famously led elephants across the Alps

  • Kamikaze

    The feared Japanese kamikaze pilots of World War Two, proud men whose unswerving devotion to duty : even at the cost of their own lives : was rooted in the ancient bushido code of honour developed by Samurai warriors

  • Khrushchev : The Peasant Premier

    How a Ukrainian peasant's son became a world leader, and brought the world to the brink of war during the Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Ivan the Terrible

    For four centuries Ivan IV has been thought of as a vicious, cruel despot and tyrant, but is this purely a Western view? In his own land he is remembered as a statesman and Tsar who held his country together through difficult times : was he so terrible after all?

  • Last Day of WWI

    Revisiting battlefields in France and Belgium where American, British, French, Canadian and German troops were engaged in combat when World War I ended on Nov. 11, 1918.

  • Drake's Last Voyage

    Retracing the final voyage of Francis Drake to shores which have remained virtually unchanged for more than 400 years. The explorer was buried at sea off the coast of Panama, but the details of his last journey have always been mysterious. This programme attempts to uncover the truth about the expedition, examining the accounts of the Guayou Indians of Colombia and the letters his crew sent home

  • Bombing Germany

    While many remember the bombing of Dresden, which resulted in the deaths of 30,000 people, this programme uncovers the reasons behind the extensive Allied attacks on other German towns during the final stages of World War Two. Historians Martin Middlebrook and Professor Tami Biddle explore the facts behind the devastation and conclude that targets were often selected on the basis of ease of destruction rather than military importance

  • Who Killed Stalin?

    Simon Sebag-Montefiore travels to Moscow, where he examines newly released documents to see if they cast any light on Stalin's death. When the 'Man of Steel' passed away in March 1953 after slipping into a coma it was believed he had died due to natural causes, but the writer identifies five people who would not have shed too many tears at news of his demise

  • Sleeping with the Enemy

    The stories of French women who had affairs with German soldiers during World War Two. Over 10,000 were tried and punished by having their heads publicly shaved - while influential collaborators escaped. The programme tells the stories of Marcelle and Elise, both of whom faced these tribunals, and presents their account of the occupation

  • Murder in Rome

    Dramatisation of a murder trial that took place in Rome in 81BC. Based on records written at the time, it re-enacts the story of Sextus Roscius, a man accused of murdering his father - a crime that carries the death penalty. His fate lies in the hands of the lawyer Cicero, whose own involvement in the case may also put him in mortal danger. With Paul Rhys and Owen Teale

  • Dear Jackie

    Why did more than one million Americans write to Jackie Kennedy after her husband was assassinated in 1963, and do they still feel the same almost 40 years on?

  • Who Killed Ivan the Terrible?

    Criminologist David Wilson investigates the mysterious death of Russia's first dictator Ivan the Terrible, beginning with a look at age-old rumours that the man who used terror to rule his huge empire may have been strangled by enemies in his court. The trail takes Wilson across Russia and back to London, where he explores a story of intrigue surrounding England's Queen Elizabeth I, uncovering clues along the way which lead to a final twist in the tale

  • Hitler's Death : The Final Report

    How Stalin's security services launched a secret investigation into the death of Adolf Hitler, interrogating survivors of the dictator's bunker and using forensic detection methods

  • The Secret File on J Edgar Hoover

    How the Mafia blackmailed FBI president J Edgar Hoover over his alleged homosexual double life, allowing an almost unconstrained growth in organised crime during his 50-year reign

  • The Secrets of the Mary Rose

    Timewatch reveals the story behind Henry VIII's favourite warship, which sank during an engagement with the French in 1545 and lay on the seabed for 437 years. Archaeologists and scientists visit the site of the wreck to discover what was left behind and demonstrate how the bones of the sailors on board could be analysed to reveal how they lived and died. Narrated by Michael Praed

  • Children of the Third Reich

    The children of Holocaust survivors meet those of Nazi war criminals in an attempt to re-examine Germany's notorious past

  • The Black Pharaohs

    The kings of Kush rule Egypt for a century and become the most powerful emperors of the ancient world.

  • Birthplace

    A Polish man returns to the place of his birth in an attempt to learn the fate of his relatives following their enforced flight from the Nazis

  • Out of the Ashes

    Children of Holocaust victims recall their parents' struggle for survival, from displaced persons to concentration camps and freedom

  • Remember Aberfan

    A look back at the tragic Aberfan mining disaster of 1966 in which 116 children and 28 adults were killed when a slag heap collapsed and came hurtling down the hillside onto the village below at speeds of up to 40mph. Everything in its path was engulfed within seconds, including the village school

  • Love Story

    How an elegant Jewish woman and a married mother of four embarked on a passionate affair when they met in Berlin during World War Two

  • One of the Reasons Why

    How Britain and France's post-war colonial policy contributed to the start of the Vietnam War

  • The Myth of Custer's Last Stand

    Documentary investigating what really occurred at the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn : the scene of Custer's Last Stand. The programme aims to reveal the truth behind the events that have passed into American folklore, exposing as myth the Hollywood image of the chivalrous soldier who gave his life defending his crack troops against a ferocious attack from a deadly enemy

  • The Mystery of the Medieval Ship

    The well-preserved remains of a medieval merchant ship reveal much about the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses.

  • Stalin and the Betrayal of Leningrad

    Documentary investigating what took place in the Soviet city of Leningrad after Russian troops emerged victorious at the end of a gruelling 900-day siege by the Germans during World War Two. In spite of the army's success, Stalin executed the war heroes who gave their all during the campaign and imprisoned their families. This programme uses classified documents and survivors' testimonies to piece together events in an attempt to explain the Russian dictator's reasons for the massacre

  • The Secrets of Enzo Ferrari

    Profile of Enzo Ferrari, who endured a life dogged by tragedy - including the deaths of his father and brother during World War One - to give his name to a car which would become synonymous with glamour, style and success. Featuring contributions from friends and family, including long-time lover Fiamma Breschi, who kept their affair secret from the Ferrari empire for more than 40 years

  • Lloyd George's War

    How David Lloyd George battled against the incompetence of his generals during World War One : a stance which eventually prompted him to turn his back on the victory in France

  • Hitler and the Invasion of Britain

    An examination of new evidence suggesting Hitler had already retrained his sights on Russia before the Battle of Britain of September 1940

  • Lenin's Secret Files

    How recently discovered documents could shed new light on the myth behind revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin

  • Projection Racket
  • The Gentlemen Spies

    This programme examines the battle against German spies during the First World War and learns how the British were duped by the mysterious Vernon Kell.

  • Rameses III: Behind the Myth of a Pharaoh

    Ramesses III is hailed as Egypt's last great pharaoh, and the grand temples and monuments he built support the image of a brilliant reign. However, this programme explores the truth behind this myth - with the help of an ancient papyrus never intended to survive - revealing a darker tale of conspiracy, vengeance and murder

  • The Hunted

    A look back at the German U-boat campaign of World War II.

  • The Spies Who Fooled Hitler : MI5 at War

    The story of the double agents working for Britain during World War Two, who played a critical role in the success of the D-Day landings. Featuring interviews with former operatives at MI5's interrogation centre Camp 020, as well as members of the German Abwehr military intelligence service

  • Charles Darwin Devil's Chaplain
  • Akhenaten and Nefertiti : The Royal Gods of Egypt

    The reign of Egyptian king Akhenaten, who ruled ancient Egypt along with his wife Nefertiti and introduced a completely new religion, monotheism. With the help of leading experts and dramatic reconstructions, this documentary asks why the monarch's wife wielded so much power and what brought Akhenaten's reign to such a sudden and disastrous end

  • Uncle Ho and Uncle Sam

    The secret alliance between Ho Chi Minh and the US government and how, in 1945, American agents recruited the Vietnamese Communist leader and trained his guerrilla army

  • The Roman Way of War

    An examination of Trajan's Column, a monument telling the story of Rome's last conquest

  • The Queen and Her Lover

    Dr Saul David examines new ideas on the doomed relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and her lover the Earl of Bothwell, who was accused of plotting to kill the monarch's husband Lord Darnley. He also considers the question historians have long debated : was she herself involved in the plot?

  • Kill 'em All : American War Crimes in Korea

    The shocking story of one of the largest massacres of civilians in American military history, at No Gun Ri in South Korea in July 1950. Using first-hand accounts from Korean and American eyewitnesses and recently declassified documents, the film reveals how US commanders issued orders to open fire on unarmed civilians, including women and children

  • The Germans We Kept

    The story of the 400,000 German PoWs who were held in 1,500 camps across Britain during World War Two, and their relationship with the locals - who were banned from fraternising with the enemy until 1946

  • The Mystery of the Iron Bridge

    Engineer Jamie Hillier attempts to construct a replica of the Iron Bridge which spans the River Severn, using only 18th-century technology. Built in 1779, the bridge dazzled the world, yet how it was actually raised so high still baffles experts. On hand with advice are historians, a computer modeller, and former steeplejack Fred Dibnah, while the Royal Engineers provide the essential muscle

  • The Making of Adolf Hitler

    Documentary examining Hitler's early years, attempting to sift through the half-truths and lies contained in his autobiographical work Mein Kampf. Who was his first love, when did he first develop his anti-semitic views, and is there any foundation to the current speculation that he was homosexual?

  • Roman Soldiers to Be

    Under the expert direction of historian Kate Gilliver, eight volunteers are moulded into a fearsome Roman fighting unit. In one gruelling week the recruits must set up camp and learn how to survive under a Roman military regime. Dressed in authentic uniform by a consultant from the blockbuster movie Gladiator, the group are expected to battle the elements, live off nature, and become skilled in the arts of warfare and survival

  • Spoils of War

    Franklin D. Roosevelt's commission to recover stolen works of art during World War II.

  • Karnak : A Hidden History

    Insight into the Ancient Egyptian temple at Karnak, a colossal religious shrine built 1,500 years before the birth of Christ. State-of-the-art computer graphics reconstruct the appearance of the temple : which was larger than 16 medieval cathedrals : while Egyptologists describe how recent research has cast light on the mysterious sexual rites which took place within its forbidding walls

  • The Scharnhorst Mystery

    A look at the mysterious sinking of the battle cruiser Scharnhorst, the pride and joy of the German Navy, during World War Two, as a Norwegian team embark on a quest to discover the wreck of the vessel

  • Battle for Berlin

    The background to award-winning historian Antony Beevor's authoritative account of the 1945 battle for Berlin. Drawing on new evidence gleaned from soldiers' remains and interviews with survivors, he has been able to unearth a number of new discoveries, including Stalin's willingness to sacrifice his own men to take the German capital before the Americans, and the Red Army's brutal treatment of German civilians as they advanced across the country

  • Tales from the Oklahoma Land Runs

    The history of the Oklahoma Land Runs, when Congress offered a share in 13million acres of land to anyone wishing to stake a claim. To ensure everyone had a fair chance to find a plot of their own, the Federal Government organised a series of races where prospective land-owners charged across the unclaimed territory on foot or by horse, finding prime locations and filing their claims on a first-come, first-served basis

  • Myths of the Titanic

    Documentary exploring the public's enduring fascination with the White Star Line's most famous ship, the Titanic. The programme attempts to uncover the truth behind the many myths that have emerged since the vessel sank in 1912, and asks why the tragedy continues to attract such attention

  • The Last Surrender

    The true story of Japanese officer Hiroo Onoda's 29-year ordeal in the Filipino jungle as he continued to fight World War Two until his eventual surrender in 1974. The documentary focuses on the extraordinary resourcefulness which ensured his survival in an extreme environment : and the acts of military terrorism committed against the innocent islanders

  • Spyplanes
  • Echoes of the Raj

    The final years of the Raj, as captured on the cine cameras of governors, magistrates, Indian Army officers and women in search of wealthy husbands in the 1920s and 1930s, before the cataclysmic effects of World War Two took their toll on a society which had remained unchanged for decades

  • Haig: The Unkown Soldier

    Historical opinion has long held Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig's World War One combat strategy responsible for the futile deaths of whole battalions of British soldiers. Timewatch explores the other side of the story, and asks if Haig really deserved his nickname : the Butcher of the Somme

  • Kings and Beasts

    An excavation at the Tower of London which unearthed a 13th-century menagerie

  • Jubilee Day

    As the country prepares for the Queen's forthcoming Golden Jubilee, archive footage reveals how the people of Britain gathered to celebrate her Silver Jubilee in 1977, despite suffering from the effects of severe economic depression. Thousands attended the royal bonfire in Windsor Great Park : an event which nearly ended in disaster : and many more held street parties across the country, while seminal punk band The Sex Pistols held their own 'alternative' bash, which was brought to an abrupt halt by police

  • Remember the Alamo

    The Battle of the Alamo in 1836, when Mexicans defeated Texans. Among the dead were American heroes Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, the inventor of the knife that bears his name

  • Myths of Nelson's Navy

    Life as a sailor in Nelson's navy : a career choice that offered considerable opportunities for social advancement and financial gain

  • Hitler, Churchill and the Paratroopers

    The battle of Crete in May 1941 saw the first-ever large-scale paratroop invasion, when Hitler ordered his troops to seize the Greek island. Although they eventually succeeded, high casualties convinced the Fuhrer that paratroops could only be used in exceptional circumstances. It was a decision that contrasted with the move by Britain and America to immediately introduce more paratroopers to the front line, although their subsequent defeat at Arhhem made it clear that once the element of surprise was gone, their deployment was too costly in men

  • Public Enemy Number One

    Profile of America's notorious Despression-era anti-hero John Dillinger, a bank robber who captured the imagination of a public disenchanted with the government. At a time when the gangster movie was rising in popularity, the nation was transfixed by a man who struggled against authority and could not be jailed, but who ultimately fell foul of J Edgar Hoover and his new national police force, the FBI

  • Strangeways Revisited

    In 1980 Rex Bloomstein's investigation into life in Strangeways prison revealed the tensions that existed in this overcrowded jail, and anticipated the great riot that eventually erupted a decade later. More than 20 years after his award-winning series, he returns to see how things have changed and traces the stories of former wardens and inmates who featured in the programme

  • Debutantes

    The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Duke of Wellington and Lady Macmillan recall the debutante season of 1939. They reveal how the upper classes' diaries were packed with invitations to luncheon parties, dances and social occasions such as Ascot, Henley and the Chelsea Flower Show, as young women desperately sought wealthy husbands

  • Nero's Golden House

    The Roman emperor Nero's Golden Palace, an impressive palace which he intended to be the eighth wonder of the world. Situated alongside the Colosseum, it has recently been reopened to the public, and provides clues as to why he is represented in history as an icon of evil hedonism

  • The King's Servant

    In A Man for All Seasons, playwright Robert Bolt portrayed Thomas More as a saint, but the truth behind Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor is far more complex. Professor John Guy attempts to unravel the myth of a man whose final years covered one of the great turning points of British history, as the nation moved from Catholicism to Protestantism amid the turbulent marital obsessions of its king

  • The Boer War : The First Media War

    The long-standing myth of the heroic cavalry charge came to an abrupt end with newspapers' interest in the Boer War of 1899-1902. The media produced a whole series of jingoistic propaganda to whip up public opinion in favour of the conflict : until the grim reality was eventually revealed, dispelling forever romantic notions of flashing blades and dashing wounded heroes

  • Death of the Battleship

    Documentary charting the reasons behind the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in December 1941, tragedies allegedly caused by a series of blunders on the part of Winston Churchill's advisers. Survivors of the attack tell their own stories as cameras follow the progress of an expedition to the bottom of the sea

  • Himmler, Hitler and the End of the Reich

    Documentary exploring how Hitler discovered that Heinrich Himmler, whom he thought to be his most loyal henchman, had been plotting to usurp him. Experts on Nazism, including Professor Ian Kershaw, chronicle the Third Reich's downfall, and shed light on such little-known topics as an extraordinary Muslim SS division

  • Summer of the Bomb

    Controversy over President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb.

  • The Empire State Story

    The history of the Empire State Building, commissioned by General Motors as a rival to the Chrysler Building, with personal accounts from a steelworker involved in its construction and : in a story which remarkably mirrors the tragic events of September 11 : a widow whose husband died in 1945 when his plane crashed into the 79th floor. The programme also explores the life of public relations king Al Smith, the former governor of New York who once represented the public face of the impressive building : the world's tallest for 40 years

  • Shadow of the Ripper

    Historians debate the identity and social impact of Jack the Ripper.

  • Tanks : Wonder Weapon of World War One?

    A review of the tank's function in battle, from its role during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 to its achievements at Cambrai and Amiens. Public attitudes toward the armoured vehicle and its impact on World War One are illustrated with accounts from Army veterans and rare archive film

  • The Strange Case of Rudolph Hess

    Facts and fallacies surround the arrival of Nazi Rudolph Hess in England.

  • Julius Caesar's Greatest Battle

    Insight into the Battle of Alesia, the climax of Julius Caesar's eight-year campaign to conquer Gaul and subdue its hostile natives. In one of the greatest sieges of ancient times he managed to rout the army of Vercingetorix, who had succeeded in uniting the Celtic tribes against the Roman invaders, and secured a victory which would shape the future of the Western world

  • Tales from the Eiffel Tower

    The history of the Eiffel Tower, revealing its original design not to be that of Gustave Eiffel at all, and examining the monumental task involved in its construction. Initial aversion shown toward the 'Iron Lady' among Parisian residents and visitors soon subsided : such that it was never demolished as intended, and has since become a symbol of French national pride

  • Judgment in Jerusalem

    Jewish historian Hanna Arendt studies the Holocaust.

  • Fascist Legacy

    Controversy over the Allies' war-crime program and British foreign policy.

  • Seeds of War

    Documentary charting the dramatic story of how Europe was plunged into darkness in the summer of 1914. Using archive film from public and private libraries, this programme brings to life a time of political intrigue and military ambition, when the destiny of millions was decided by a handful of imperial warlords

  • The Unknown Soldier

    Historical documentary following the work of American military forensic specialists attempting to identify the bodies of two unknown World War One soldiers found in a French field in 2003. They face a tough challenge as they work toward fulfilling their mission to bring home all missing servicemen

  • Young Victoria

    Kate Williams explores the hidden story of the monarch who brought Great Britain into the modern age. She examines Victoria's battle to become Queen, in which she fought against her mother, the Duchess of Kent, who wanted to ascend the throne herself - all at a time when the country was on the brink of revolution

  • Forgotten Heroes

    The dangerous work of the merchant navy during World War Two, which suffered a higher casualty rate than the armed forces

  • The Year Without Summer

    Documentary following two experts as they try to piece together how the biggest volcanic eruption ever recorded, at Mount Tambora in eastern Indonesia in 1815, brought about worldwide climate change and altered the lives of hundreds of thousands of people

  • The Mystery of the Black Death

    An investigation into the causes of the notorious Black Death, which devastated 14th-century Europe and killed up to half its population. New evidence suggests the disease was not bubonic plague spread by rats, but could instead have been a deadly virus which mysteriously vanished yet may still exist in the world today

  • The Last Tomb Raider

    Profile of 19th-century circus strongman-turned-adventurer Giovanni Belzoni, who, seduced by wealth and glory, was responsible for unearthing some of Egypt's greatest treasures. The British Museum benefited greatly from his exploits, which included the discovery of the tomb at the heart of a great pyramid and the Temple of Abu Simbel. Sadly, a bitter feud with his employer meant he died in obscurity, while a rival claimed the fame

  • The True Story of the Roman Arena

    Exploring the brutal world of Rome's Colosseum, where violence and death were part of the entertainment

  • The Lost Heroes

    A team of divers try to reveal the full story of the heroes of a World War Two raid against the German vessel Tirpitz, nicknamed the Beast by Hitler. They also aim to solve the mystery surrounding the mission, in which a small team of British men crammed into four-man midget submarines launched a successful attack in Arctic seas against the pride of Nazi naval engineering

  • Dunkirk 1940 -- The Great Escape

    Allied troops evacuate Dunkirk, on the French coast, in May 1940.

  • The Real Rasputin

    How new evidence reveals information challenging the popular theories surrounding Gregory Rasputin, the so-called Mad Monk, who was reviled for his mysterious connections with Tsarina Alexandra

  • Timewatch (Britain's X Files)

    An examination of Government files detailing Britain's most famous UFO sightings, featuring the story of a meeting between a royal equerry and a supposed alien, as well as eyewitness accounts of other bizarre cases. The rational explanations offered in many instances also come under close scrutiny

  • Who Killed Rasputin?

    An exploration of history's greatest conundrums, beginning by reopening the investigation into who killed Rasputin. A leading Scotland Yard murder detective re-examines the evidence about the demise of the Tsar's notorious adviser who was supposedly poisoned, then shot and finally drowned in a frozen river. While Prince Felix Yusupov confessed to the crime, new evidence suggests his version of events may not be true

  • White Slaves, Pirate Gold

    Between the late 16th and early 19th centuries, Europe was terrorised by the Barbary pirates : Muslim marauders who attacked shipping and coastal villages, taking captives for sale in North African slave markets. This programme reveals the untold history of these lawless seafarers and their lucrative trade, and follows an underwater exploration of a wreck discovered off the south-west coast of England in 1977 which could well be a Barbary slave ship

  • Bukharin & the Terror

    Nikolai Bukharin publicly questions Stalin's tactics.

  • Mother of All Battles

    The seven-week-long Battle of Kursk, which cost more lives than were lost by Britain in the whole of World War Two

  • The Mary Rose: A Timewatch Guide

    In the first of three programmes re-examining historical subjects using archive BBC footage, historian Dan Snow explores the discovery, excavation and raising of the iconic ship, finding out what the latest research has revealed about the vessel and her crew. The presenter also investigates how the project helped create modern underwater archaeology, and examines the techniques, challenges and successes of the divers and archaeologists involved

  • Timewatch: Boxer Rebellion

    Using Chinese sources, as well as diaries and memoirs of some of the people involved, Timewatch tells the dramatic story behind the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, when Imperial troops and Chinese rebels laid siege to the diplomatic quarter in Beijing - an event that helped bring down the imperial monarchy, leading to a century of destruction, revolution and ultimate renewal

  • The Battle of the River Plate

    The Battle of the River Plate, a deadly duel at sea during the Second World War between Commodore Henry Harwood of the British Navy and Captain Hans Langsdorff, commander of German battleship the Graf Spee. The film uses dramatic reconstructions to tell the story of the engagement, which became noted for one of the war's most famous uses of military intelligence. Narrated by Michael Praed

  • Cleopatra: A Timewatch Guide

    Vanessa Collingridge explores how the public's view of ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra has changed over the years, from Roman propaganda through to Shakespeare's portrayal, and in the golden age of Hollywood, where she became a doomed romantic heroine. The presenter seeks the views of academic experts and refers to archive BBC documentaries and drama to explore Cleopatra's personal life and role as a politician, charting how throughout history the leader's image has been subject to myths and cliches

  • Timewatch - Queen Elizabeth's Lost Guns

    Documentary about the efforts to retrieve 400-year-old cannons from the seabed off Alderney in the Channel Islands and analyse a shipwreck that could rewrite English naval history. Saul David joins a team of divers and historians who hope to explain Britain's rise to maritime dominance by recasting and firing the Elizabethan weapons, hope to explain Britain's rise to maritime dominance

  • Britain's Lost Colosseum

    Archaeologists Tony Wilmott and Dan Garner explore the history of Chester's Roman amphitheatre, which some experts have claimed was the largest in Britain, revealing the results of a three-month excavation to establish whether it was built by the emperor responsible for Rome's Colosseum

  • Roman Britain: A Timewatch Guide

    Alice Roberts explores how the public's view of Roman Britain has changed over the decades, examining events from the initial invasion, through to the construction of Hadrian's Wall and the eventual collapse of the empire, drawing on the work of archaeologists and historians and using 50 years of BBC archive footage. With contributions from Charlotte Higgins, Adrian Goldsworthy, Neil Faulkner and Jo Quinn

  • Timewatch: Britain's Forgotten Floods

    Professors Simon Haslett and Ted Bryant investigate evidence for the past occurrence of tsunamis in Britain, of which they believe there were at least five, including the Bristol Channel flood of 1607. They are accompanied in their quest by historian and scientist Vanessa Collingridge, who looks back to the Lisbon tsunami of 1755, which changed the course of European history

  • Timewatch: Hadrian's Wall

    Timewatch explores the legacy of Hadrian's Wall, which for 300 years stood as the Roman Empire's most imposing frontier. The 2,000-year-old stone barrier measures 74 miles long. Standing up to 15ft high and 10ft thick, it is considered one of the unsung wonders of the ancient world, providing a window into the past

  • Timewatch - In Shackleton's Footsteps

    Documentary following British men as they set off on a 900-mile trek to the South Pole. A hundred years since their ancestors failed to make it under the leadership of explorer Ernest Shackleton, the trio led by Lt Col Henry Worsley undertake the journey that very few have ever completed. Last in the series

  • Timewatch: The Secret History of Genghis Khan

    The lesser-known personality traits of early military leader Genghis Khan, dispelling myths that he was nothing but a philandering tyrant. Michael Praed reveals the truth about the warrior and politician : a 12th-century nomad who amassed an army to conquer the largest land empire in the world

  • Timewatch - The Prince and The Plotter

    Forty years after the Prince of Wales' investiture, Huw Edwards revisits the events of the extraordinary day when police, politicians and royalty held their breath as nationalist extremists violently plotted to disrupt the ceremony

  • Timewatch: Beatlemania

    The story of the Beatles, who had by 1966 played more than 1,400 gigs, had 15 number one singles, made seven albums, toured the world four times and sold 200 million records. At the height of their popularity, they pulled the plug and decided never to tour again. Archive footage and interviews with those who accompanied them on the road reveal the inside story of their career - including death threats, plane crashes, diplomatic wrangles and disillusionment

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