ABERFAN: THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE

18 Oct 2016 (60 mins) / BBC1.

On the 21st Oct 1966, 116 children and 28 adults lost their lives when a colliery tip collapsed onto the village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil. An excellent drama-documentary that tells the story of the subsequent enquiry and the villagers fight for justice. Presented by Huw Edwards.

Aberfan Disaster

 

ABSOLUTE ZERO

2008 (2 Pts) / BBC2 (first shown on BBC4).

Drama documentary about the development of low temperature physics and the quest for absolute zero degrees.

 

AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME

21 Nov 2013 (80 mins) / BBC2.

Well-produced and interesting drama about the creation of the early series of long-running BBC sci-fi drama, Dr Who in the 1960s.

With: David Bradley as WILLIAM HARTNELL, Jessica Laine as VERITY LAMBERT, Brian Cox as SYDNEY NEWMAN, Sacha Dhawan as WARIS HUSSEIN etc.

 

THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH

6 - 30 Nov 2003 (8 pts) / ITV1.

Documentary series about the history of the English language.

Written and presented by Melvyn Bragg.

The Adventure of English (WIKI).

 

AFTER ROME: HOLY WAR AND CONQUEST

29 Nov - 6 Dec 2008 (2 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

Documentary two-parter about the clash of civilisations between Christianity and Islam after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Presented by Boris Johnson

 

AFTER THE WAR

16, 23, 25, Aug 2005 (3 parts) / BBC2.

Documentary series examining events after the end of the Second World War: Part 1 shows how the Allied forces set about rebuilding a shattered and bankrupt Germany; Part 2 focuses on the Americans' relationship with the Japanese Emporer Hirohito; Part 3 deals with the political aftermath of the War in Britain.

BBC History - World War 2.

 

AGATHA CHRISTIE: A LIFE IN PICTURES

22 Sep 2004 (90 mins) / BBC2

Writer & Director: Richard Curson-Smith / Producer: Colette Flight.

Highly acclaimed drama about Agatha Christie's mysterious and highly publicised disappearance in 1926 after a car crash. The author recovers her memory with the help of a Psychiatrist after going missing for 11 days and being found in a Harrogate Spa Hotel. Outstanding performances and picturesque locations accompanied by an excellent soundtrack.

With: Olivia Williams, Anna Massey, Raymond Coulthard, Stephen Boxer.

 

A GREAT BRITISH AIR DISASTER

24 Feb 2013 (50 mins) / Channel 4

Director: Anna Thomson

The De Havilland Comet was seen as a triumph for British aviation in the early 1950s until two aircraft mysteriously blew up in mid-air in 1954. This documentary follows the progress of the investigation that followed.

 

ALL ABOARD: THE CANAL TRIP

5 May 2015 (120 mins) / BBC4.

Part of a week of programs on BBC4 devoted to "slow TV". This was a two-hour journey in real-time down the Kennet and Avon canal on a barge, from Bath to the Dundas aqueduct. No narration, no music – just the occasional subtitle or graphic to explain things.

 

ALL ABOARD: THE COUNTRY BUS

29 Aug 2016 (120 mins) / BBC4.

A beautifully-filmed, two-hour journey in real-time on the "Northern Dalesman" bus from Richmond to Ribblehead viaduct in Yorkshire, and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Dales.

 

ALL ABOARD: THE SLEIGH RIDE

Xmas Eve 2015 (120 mins) / BBC4.

Fascinating slow documentary following a "sleigh train" in real time across the frozen wilderness of northern Norway. Pulled by reindeer and led by two young Sami women, this was one of the highlights of Christmas, if not the year.

 

ANDREW MARR'S HISTORY OF MODERN BRITAIN

2007 & 2009 (11 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

Series documenting the history of Britain in the 20th century.

Series 1 (22 May - 19 Jun 2007): 1945 to 2007.

Series 2 (28 Oct - 2 Dec 2009): The Edwardian Era.

Written and presented by Andrew Marr

History of Modern Britain (WIKI).

 

ANDREW MARR'S GREAT SCOTS

16-30 Aug 2014 (3x60 mins) / BBC2.

Documentary series exploring the life and works of 3 Scottish writers who shaped the history and culture of Scotland: (1) James Boswell, (2) Walter Scott, (3) Hugh MacDiarmid. Presented by Andrew Marr.

 

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

1979 - to date (60 mins per ep) / BBC1.

Long running series which travels around the country, allowing members of the public to have their antiques evaluated and valued by experts.

Presented by Fiona Bruce (from 2008)

Antiques Roadshow (WIKI)

 

APOCALYPSE: THE SECOND WORLD WAR

30 Oct - 4 Dec 2010 (6 x 50 mins) / Channel 4.

Useful documentary series that gives an excellent overview of WW2 using best quality colour-restored film footage.

 

APPLES, PEARS AND PAINT: HOW TO MAKE A STILL LIFE PAINTING

5 Jan 2014 / BBC4.

Art history documentary feauturing works from the ancient Romans to Picasso, and taking in great artists such as Caravaggio and Cezanne as well as lesser known figures.

 

AQUARIUS

Apr 1970-77 / ITV (LWT).

Influential and highly-regarded fortnightly magazine show about the arts.

Presented by Humphrey Burton

Comment: Several excellent clips are available on Youtube - e.g: the features on English composer "Havergal Brian", and "Budgie" (a 1970's drama series starring Adam Faith).

 

ARENA

1975 - Date / BBC2 and BBC4.

Producer: Alan Yentob.

Iconic and long-running arts documentary series.

Arena (WIKI).

 

ARMADA

1988 (3 pts) / BBC2.

Writer / Producer: Alan Ereira.

Award-winning documentary series about the ill-fated attempt by the Spanish to invade England in 1588 using a huge fleet of ships. It was defeated by a combination of superior technology, training, tactics and atrocious weather. Narrated by Alan Ereira.

 

ARMADA: 12 DAYS TO SAVE ENGLAND

24 May – 7 June 2015 (3 X 60 mins)/ BBC2.

3-part drama-documentary series using the latest historical research and CGI reenactments to reconstruct the story of the Spanish Armada and its failed attempt to invade England in the summer of 1588. With Anita Dobson as Elizabeth I. Presented by Dan Snow.

 

ARMCHAIR THEATRE

8 July 1956 - 1974 / ITV.

Long running series of one-off plays which pioneered dramas about working-class people (eg: John Osbourne's "Look Back In Anger"), and which in its very early years was broadcast live. Some of its productions were developed into new spin-off series and comedies.

Armchair Theatre (BFI).

 

AROUND THE WORLD BY ZEPPELIN

28 May 2012 / BBC4.

Documentary about the first circumnavigation of the globe by an airship - the Graf Zeppelin in 1929. Based on a diary kept by one of the journalists on board, Lady Grace Drummond-Haye.

 

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GARDENS

27 Jan - 30 Mar 2008 / BBC2.

Inspirational and visually stunning documentary series about Gardens around the world taking in places like Cuba, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand etc. Along the way we get an insight into the cultures that have created these beautiful natural spaces.

Presented by Monty Don.

Around the world in 80 Gardens (WIKI).

 

THE ART OF CORNWALL

2 Dec 2010 (60 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary looking at the work of artists associated with the world-renowned St. Ives colony in Cornwall, south-west England - figures such as Kit Wood, Alfred Wallis, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.

 

THE ART OF RUSSIA

Jan 2010 (3x60 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary series telling the story of Russian art from the origins of the icon to the 20th century avant-garde.

Written and presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon.

 

THE ASCENT OF MAN

5 - 28 May 1973 (13 x 50 mins) / BBC2

Highly acclaimed and authoratative documentary series about the development of human knowledge from earliest times to the present day.

Written and presented by Dr. Jacob Bronowski.

The Ascent of Man (Wiki).

 

THE ASCENT OF MONEY

17 Nov - 22 Dec 2008 / Channel 4.

Timely and revealing documentary series about the development of our global financial system, and the current economic crisis .

Written and Presented by Niall Ferguson

 

ATLANTIC CONVOYS: THE WAR AT SEA

30 Aug-20 Sep 2009 / Channel 4.

Directed by Paul Copeland & Christopher Rowley.

Outstanding history drama-doc about the merchant ship convoys which crossed the Atlantic during WW2. Keeping open a vital trade lifeline to Britain during its darkest hour, they were mercilessly preyed upon by German U-Boat "wolf packs" and suffered great losses (Illustrated by CGI).

Atlantic Convoys (Channel 4).

 

ATOM

2007 - 2008 (3 x 60 min) / BBC4 & BBC2

Impressive documentary series covering the discovery of the atom, Quantum Mechanics, Nuclear fission, the "Big Bang", Parallel Universes etc.

Presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili.

Atom (BBC website).

 

BATTLEFIELD BRITAIN

2004 (8 x 50 mins) / BBC2

Series producer: Danielle Peck.

Military documentary series about battles fought on British soil. Re-enactment and computer graphics, as well as talking to camera, bring the history to life for the viewer. Episodes: (1) Boudicca (2) Battle of Hastings (3) The Battle for Wales (4) The Spanish Armada (5) The Battle of Naseby (6) the Battle of the Boyne (7) The Battle of Culloden (8) The Battle of Britain.

Battlefield Britain BBC website.

 

BATTLE FOR HADITHA

17 Mar 2008 / Channel 4.

Writer/Director: Nick Broomfield.

Powerful and revealing drama, based on the events of 19 November 2005, when a US Marine patrol in Iraq massacred 24 Iraqi civilians in revenge for a bomb attack.

With: Elliot Ruiz etc.

 

THE BEATLES ON RECORD

5 Sep 2009 / BBC2.

Director: Bob Smeaton.

Excellent documentary looking at the making of all the Beatles albums - with contributions from the band members themselves, rare video footage and musical out-takes.

 

BEATRIX POTTER WITH PATRICIA ROUTLEDGE

26 Jan 2016 / More 4.

Informative and interesting documentary about the life and work of the famous children's book author and illustrator. Presented by Patricia Routledge.

 

BEES, BUTTERFLIES AND BLOOMS

8-22 Feb 2012 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

Extremely timely documentary series highlighting the crisis facing pollinating insects - particularly bees which have been hard hit by disease. Sarah Raven looks at ways in which the gardener can reverse the trend by planting nectar rich flowers.

 

BERLIN

14 - 28 Nov 2009 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

Director: Sam Hobkinson.

Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this series looks at the recent troubled past of the city.

Written & presented by Matt Frei.

 

THE BEST OF MEN

16 Aug 2012 / BBC2.

Writer: Lucy Gannon / Director: Tim Whitby / Producer: Harriet Davison.

Quality drama about the German medical Doctor, Ludwig Guttmann, whose pioneering work with spinal injury patients during WW2 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital (England) led to the birth of the Paralympic Games.

Starring Eddie Marsan as DR GUTTMANN, Niamh Cusack as SISTER EDWARDS etc.

 

BIBLE HUNTERS

13-20 Feb 2014 (2x60 mins) / BBC2.

Walk and talk documentary two-parter about the rediscovery of original early Christian texts (including non-canonical texts) by 19th and early 20th century Bible scholars.

Presented by Jeff Rose.

 

THE BIBLE REVOLUTION

9 April 2007 / Channel 4.

Director / Producer: David Wilson.

Engaging drama-documentary telling the story of the translation of the Bible into English and its impact on society. It focuses on the life and work of John Wycliffe, John Tyndale, Martin Luther and Thomas Cranmer.

Presented by Rod Liddle.

The Bible Revolution (C4).

 

BIG IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

Channel 5.

Thought-provoking documentary series about ideas that have had a major impact on history. Each program is presented by a well known public figure with a strong connection to the subject.

Series 1 (31 May - 5 July 2005):

1. Communism: With Mikhail Gorbachev.
2. Feminism: With Germaine Greer.
3. Christianity: With Desmond Tutu
4. Democracy: With Tony Benn.
5. Capitalism: With Joseph Stiglitz.
6. Environmentalism: With Bjorn Lomborg.

Series 2 (3 Apr - 14 May 2007)

1. Egalitarianism: With Jesse Jackson.
2. Consumerism: With Jonathan Porrit.
3. Islam: With Benazir Bhutto.
4. Terrorism.
5. Nationalism: With David Blunkett.

Comment: Some of these programs are available on Youtube.

 

THE BIG SILENCE

22 Oct - 5 Nov 2010 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

Engaging documentary series in which cameras follow the progress of a mixed group of five volunteers on an eight-day silent retreat at a Jesuit Abbey in Wales. The induction is by Fr. Christopher Jamieson, who was also the spiritual director on the BBC's "The Monastery". Also see "The Convent".

The Monastery - Worth Abbey.

 

BILL ODDIE GOES WILD

2001 - 2003 (3 series) / BBC2.

Nature Documentary series. Bill Oddie travels around Britain looking at the native wildlife and habitats. Beautiful scenery, outstanding camera-work and and Oddie's informal but well-informed style of presentation made this a memorable series.

BBC "Bill Oddie Goes Wild" website.

 

THE BIRTH OF BRITISH MUSIC

9 - 30 May 2009 (4 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

Director: Andy King-Dabbs / Producer: Helen Mansfield.

Documentary series exploring the lives and music of four great composers: (1) Purcell - The Londoner, (2) Handel - The Conquering hero, (3) Haydn - The Celebrity, (4) Mendelssohn - The Prophet. Includes performances of the music.

Presented (and conducted) by Charles Hazelwood.

The Birth of British Music (BBC).

 

THE BIRTH OF THE BRITISH NOVEL

7 Feb 2011 (60 mins) / BBC4.

Director & Producer: Emma Webster.

A survey of pioneering works of 18th century English literature covering Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), Henry Fielding (Pamela or Virtue Rewarded), Laurence Sterne (Tristram Shandy), Fanny Burney etc. Presented by Henry Hitchings.

 

BLITZ: THE BOMBING OF COVENTRY

6 Oct 2009 (60 mins) / BBC2.

Quality documentary about the events of 14 November 1940, when the old English city of Coventry was devastated by 12 hours of intensive German bombing.

The Coventry Blitz (BBC)

 

BORDER COUNTRY: THE STORY OF BRITAIN'S LOST MIDDLELAND

30 Mar & 6 Apr 2014 / BBC2.

Two-part series exploring the landscape, history and archaeology of the "border country" around Hadrian's Wall. Includes the Roman occupation, the growth of the Kingdom of Nothumbria and the centuries-old conflict between England and Scotland. Presented by Rory Stewart MP.

 

BREAKING THE CODE

5 Feb 1997 / BBC1

Writer: Hugh Whitemore / Director: Herbert Wise

Brilliant drama about the life of mathematical genius Alan Turing, who helped to break the Nazi's Enigma code during World War 2.

With: Derek Jacobi.

The Alan Turing Internet Scrapbook.

 

BRITAIN ON FILM

Nov 2012 – to date / BBC4.

Series 1 (6 Nov 2012 – 18 Feb 2012): Women, recreation, business, fashion, technology, the Cold War, British traditions, animals, rural life, the British empire.
Series 2 (27 May 2013 – ): Changing times, children, the island nation, work, transport, boats, housing etc.

Observational documentary series drawing on Rank's "Look at Life" short-film archive to show various aspects of British society in the the 1960s. Filmed in beautiful high-grade 35mm colour.

 

BRITAIN'S ANCIENT TRACKS (WITH TONY ROBINSON)

15–20 Oct 2016 (3 x 50 mins) / Channel 4.

Tony Robinson explores Britain's ancient trackways, breaking his journey to visit sites of interest along the way: 1) Icknield Way, 2) The Ridgeway, 3) North Downs Way.

 

BRITISH ART AT WAR

14–28 Sep 2016 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC4.

Series of 3 documentaries about early 20th century British artists whose art portrayed the reality of the First World War: 1) Paul Nash. 2) Walter Sickert. 3) David Bomberg.

 

BRITAIN'S GREAT WAR

27 Jan - 17 Feb 2014 (4 x 60 mins) / BBC1.

Walk-and-talk documentary series about World War 1 (1914-18), using extensive vintage film footage to show how it impacted on the lives of ordinary people and changed British society.

Presented by Jeremy Paxman

 

BRITISH MASTERS

11-25 July 2011 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary about 20th century British painting – including artists such as Stanley Spencer, Francis Bacon, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and many others. Episodes: (1) We Are Making a New World (2) In Search of England (3) A New Jerusalem.

Presented by James Fox.

 

BURIED TREASURE

23 July 1954 - 1959 / BBC.

Popular series on Archaeology featuring studio discussion, field reports and digs – a very early forerunner of Time Team. The first program titled "Stonehenge" is still an excellent introduction to the subject. Presented by Glyn Daniel.

Presented by James Fox.

 

CANALS: THE MAKING OF A NATION

1 Sep – 6 Oct (6 x 30 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary series telling the story of Britain's extensive canal network. Presented by Liz McIvor.

 

CANAL WALKS

2 - 23 May 2011 (4 x 30 mins) / BBC4.

Julia Bradbury takes in the view on a series of scenic walks around Britain's extensive canal network. See also, "Wainwright's Walks" and "Railway Walks".

 

CAPTAIN COOK: THE MAN BEHIND THE LEGEND

14 Mar 2009 (55 mins) / BBC2 ("Timewatch").

Quality drama-documentary about the famous English explorer, navigator and cartographer, who led three naval expeditions to map out previously-unknown regions of the planet.

Presented by Vanessa Collingridge.

 

CARVED WITH LOVE: THE GENIUS OF BRITISH WOODWORK

10-24 Jan 2013 (3x60 mins) / BBC4.

Producer: John Mullen / Exec. Producer: Jonty Claypole

(1) The Extraordinary Thomas Chippendale: The great furniture designer and cabinetmaker. (2) The Glorious Grinling Gibbons: 16-17th c. sculptor known as the "Michelangelo of wood". (3) The Divine Craft of Carpentry: Woodworking in the middle-ages. Narrated by Paul Copley.

 

CATHERINE THE GREAT

21 & 28 Oct 2005 (2 parts) / BBC2

Producer: John-Paul Davidson.

Superior, and revealing, drama-doc about the the life of the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. Part 1 covers her turbulent and unhappy marriage to Csar Peter, and his subsequent murder and replacement by Catherine. Part 2 deals with her political reforms and foreign conquests.

 

CERAMICS: A FRAGILE HISTORY

10-24 Oct 2011 (3x60 mins) / BBC4.

Excellent history of British pottery from Tudor times to the present day: 1. The Story of Clay 2. The Age of Wedgwood 3. The Art of the Potter.

 

CHARLES DARWIN AND THE TREE OF LIFE

7 Feb 2009 / BBC1.

The life of Biologist Charles Darwin and how he arrived at his theory of natural selection.

Presented by David Attenborough.

 

CHILD OF THE DEAD END

6 Feb 2011 (90 mins) / BBC2 Scotland

Irish-made docudrama about the life and work of acclaimed "navvy" poet Patrick MacGill, whose writing bore witness to the poverty and hardship of Irish migrant labourers as well as the experiences of soldiers in the First World War.

With Stephen Rea as MacGill.

 

CHRISTIANITY: A HISTORY

11 Jan - 1 Mar 2009 / Channel 4

A history of the Christian religion with a different presenter each week giving a unique perspective on events.

Christianity: A History (Channel 4)

 

CHRONICLE

1966 - 1980 / BBC2

Documentary series featuring the latest discoveries in History and Archaeology.

Presented by Magnus Magnusson and Glynn Daniel.

Chronicle (BBC archive site featuring various episodes of the series).

 

CIRCUS ELEPHANT RAMPAGE

22 July 2015 / BBC4 ("Storyville").

Moving documentary about the years of abuse suffered by circus elephant Tyke: cruelly shot down in a hail of gunfire after going on the rampage through the streets of Honolulu, Hawaii in 1994.

 

A CITY CROWNED WITH GREEN

12 June 1964 / BBC

Vintage documentary charting the growth of London and its unique character as a capital city. Narrated by Rayner Banham.

 

CIVILISATION

1969 (13 x 50 mins) / BBC2.

Highly acclaimed epic series about the evolution of Culture and Civilisation from earliest days to the 1960s. Intellectually rigorous, it set the benchmark for future productions such as Bronowski's "Ascent of Man".

Written and presented by Kenneth Clark.

Civilisation (WIKI).

 

CIVIL WAR

2002 (4 parts) / BBC2 (Open University)

Fine educational documentary (featuring dramatic reconstructions) about the causes and events of the English Civil War of 1642 - 1649 between the Royalists and Parliamentarians.

Written and presented by Dr. Tristram Hunt

Civil War website.

 

COAST

2005 - 2012 / BBC2.

Series 1 (13 x 50 mins): 22 July - 2 Sep 2005.
Series 2 (8 x 50 mins): 26 Oct - 14 Dec 2006.
Series 3 (8 x 50 mins): 3 Jun - 7 Aug 2007.
Series 4 (8 x 50 mins): 14 July - 1 Sep 2009.
Series 5 (8 x 50 mins): 25 July - 1 Sep 2010.
Series 6 (6 x 50 mins): 5 June - 10 July 2011.
Series 7 (6 x 60 mins): 13 May - 17 Jun 2012.
Series 8 (6 x 60 mins): 3 Apr - 8 May 2013.
Australia (8 x 60 mins): 14 May - 9 July 2014.
Series 9 (6 x 60 mins): 15 July - 19 Aug 2014.
Series 10 (? x 60 mins): 9 July 2015 - .
Coast: The Great Guide (8 x 60 mins): 21 Sep - 14 Nov 2016.

Enjoyable and very scenic tour of Britain's long and varied coastline - taking in the people, places and wildlife from Land's End to John O'Groats. Later series also cover Ireland, France, Australia and Canada.

Presented by Neil Oliver, Nick Crane etc.

Coast (Wikipedia)

Coast (Open University).

 

COMFORTABLY NUMB

29 March 2004 / Channel 4.

Powerful, compelling and realistic drama, depicting the daily struggle of recovering drug addicts at a rehabilitation centre. Based on real life scenarios and reenacted by drugs counsellors themselves. Screened at an unearthly hour of the morning, this deserved a wider audience.

With: Hans Matheson, Rebecca Palmer.

 

CONNECTIONS

1978, 1992 & 1997 (40 pts) / BBC2.

Documentary series exploring the connections between historical events and technological innovation. Written and presented by James Burke.

Connections (WIKI).

James Burke Web (Youtube videos).

 

CONSTABLE: A COUNTRY REBEL

7 Sep 2014 (60 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary about one of Britain's most celebrated landscape artists, John Constable (1776-1837). His style of painting was considered revolutionary by his peers and influenced the French Impressionists. Presented by Alistair Sooke.

 

THE CONVENT

13 Jun - 5 July 2006 / BBC2

Director: Sandi Scott / Producer: John Blake.

Interesting companion series to "The Monastery" in which 4 women are invited to spend 40 days and nights in a convent. They are required to fully participate in the routines of the community with its regular offices and periods of prayer and contemplation. Also see "The Big Silence".

The Poor Clares of Arundel.

 

COOKING IN THE DANGER ZONE

2007 - 2008 / BBC2

Series 1: 2007

Series 2: 15 - 29 Mar 2008 (3 x 60 mins).

Food travelogue with a difference, looking at the everyday cuisine of various developing countries. This is viewed in a wider social context highlighting issues such as poverty and injustice.

Presented by Stefan Gates.

Cooking in the Danger Zone (BBC).

 

A COOKS TOUR OF FRANCE

View of the Auvergne1992 (12 parts) / BBC2

Evocative and absorbing food travelogue. Presenter Mireille Johnston tours the various regions of France, exploring local cuisine and culture. Lots of spoken French (with subtitles).

Mireille Johnston - obituary.

 

COR BLIMEY!

2001 (105 mins) / ITV1 (rpt BBC2 12/7/2008)

Writer & Director: Terry Johnson.

One-off drama about the relationship between Barbara Windsor and Sid James (of "Carry On" fame). Memorable performances (especially "Babs" and "Kenneth WIlliams") in an entertaining and dramatically convincing production.

With: Samantha Spiro, Geoffrey Hutchings, Adam Godley.

 

COSMOS

1981? (13 x 50 mins) / BBC?

Writers: Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan & Steven Soter / Director: Adrian Malone / Producers: Gregory Andorfer & Rob McCain.

Highly acclaimed, epic and wide-ranging documentary series about the universe.

Presented by Carl Sagan.

 

COUNTRYFILE

July 1988 - date / BBC1

Long-running British rural affairs series covering farming, the environment, wildlife, rural crafts and industries, culture etc.

Hosted by John Craven.

Countryfile (WIKI).

Countryfile (Magazine).

 

CRANFORD

18 Nov - 16 Dec 2007 & 20 - 27 Dec 2009 (2 part Xmas special) / BBC1

Writer: Heidi Thomas (based on the stories by Elizabeth Gaskell) / Director: Simon Curtis / Producer: Sue Birtwhistle.

Period drama about the lives of various women in a small 19th century English country town. Watchable first series but the Xmas special was disappointing.

With: Judy Dench, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Philip Glenister, Julia Mckenzie, Julia Sawalha.

 

C S LEWIS: BEYOND NARNIA

6 Jan 2006 / BBC2

Writer & Director: Norman Stone / Exec. Producer: Carol Sennett.

Expertly crafted drama about the life of well-known British Author and Academic C S Lewis. The story is told from the narrative perspective of an elderly Lewis, interspersed with dramatic episodes of his life, and documents early influences, his struggle with the Christian faith, and the tragic loss of his wife Joy Gresham.

With: Anton Rodgers, Diane Venora.

 

DAN CRUIKSHANK'S ADVENTURES IN ARCHITECTURE

2 Apr - 21 May 2008 / BBC2

Writer & Exec. Producer: Basil Comely.

Documentary series looking at cities, buildings and monuments all over the world. Each episode explores a different theme.

Writer / Presenter: Dan Cruikshank.

 

DAN CRUIKSHANK AND THE FAMILY THAT BUILT GOTHIC BRITAIN

21 Oct 2014 / BBC4

The story of famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, his son George and grandson, Giles: responsible for some of Britain's most iconic Victorial buildings such as the Midland Hotel (at St Pancreas Station) and Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern). Presented by Dan Cruikshank.

 

THE DARK AGES - AN AGE OF LIGHT

27 Nov - 18 Dec 2013 / BBC4

A looks at the Dark Ages in a new light: (1) The Clash of the Gods - how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the third century. (2) What the Barbarians Did for Us – the art produced by the Huns, Vandals and Goths. (3) The Wonder of Islam – the early art of the first Muslims. (4) The Men of the North – the art of the Carolingians, the Vikings, the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons.

Presented by Waldemar Januszczak.

 

DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA

March 2009 (3 X 60 mins) / BBC2

Informative documentary series about Charles Darwin, his theory of evolution and its subsequent impact on science and society up to the present day.

Presented by Andrew Marr.

The Genius of Darwin (BBC).

 

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH'S FIRST LIFE

5-12 November 2010 (2X60 mins) / BBC2

2-part, animated documentary about the evolution of the first animals, including Trilobites and giant Sea Scorpions, highlighting the extraordinary variety of forms created by natural selection.

Presented by David Attenborough.

First Life website.

 

THE DAY BRITAIN STOPPED

13 May 2003 (rpt 18 Jan 2004) / BBC2

Docudrama, set in the future, which shows how an unforeseen, coincident series of events affecting Britain's roads, railways and airways might lead to total transport gridlock. A salutary reminder of this Government's failure to tackle the growing menace of traffic congestion.

BBC Website - The Day Britain Stopped.

 

THE DAY OF THE KAMIKAZE

18 Feb 2008 (85mins) / Channel 4

Director & Producer: Peter Nicholson.

Fine dramatised documentary about the Japanese suicide pilots who terrorised the American pacific fleet towards the end of World War 2.

 

THE DAY THE UNIVERSE CHANGED

1985 (10 pts) / BBC2

Documentary series looking at how technological developments have changed our perception of the universe.

Written & presented by James Burke

The Day the Universe Changed (WIKI).

 

D-DAY: THE LAST HEROES

9-10 June 2013 (2 parts) / BBC1

Superb drama-documentary about the preparations for and execution of the D-Day landings in Normandy, 1944.

Written & presented by Dan Snow.

 

D-DAY TO BERLIN

20 Apr 2005 - (3 x 60 mins) / BBC1

Producer: Andrew Williams.

Superlative big-budget drama-documentary recounting the final allied push for victory in WW2, from the invasion of Normandy to the fall of Berlin: (1) The Struggle to break out, (2) Allies at war, (3) The dream that died.

Narrated by Sean Bean.

 

THE DEAL

28 Sep 2003 / Channel 4.

Absorbing drama about the rise to political power of Britain's former Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

With: Michael Sheen, David Morissey.

 

DISOWNED AND DISABLED

29 & 30 Oct 2013 / BBC4.

Documentary about the care of abandoned and disabled children in the post-war years. Episodes: (1) Nowhere else to go. After WW2, a newly-formed welfare state and a national scandal led to a drive to improve the care of abandoned and disabled children in Britain. (2) Breaking Free. The disabled's struggle for equal rights in post-war Britain.

 

DOMESDAY

14 May 2011 / BBC2.

Informative, interesting and very scenic documentary about the survey of Britain commissioned by the Normans in 1085 which became the now famous Domesday Book. Was it really, as some believe, a tax-raising aid or did it have some other purpose? Presented by Dr. Stephen Baxter.

Note: Issued on a BBC DVD called "The Normans".

 

DUNKIRK

Repeated 20 Aug - 3 Sep 2005 (3 part) / BBC2.

Monumental drama-documentary recounting the human story behind the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of British and French soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II. The film also shows how British troops fought a vital rearguard action against the advancing enemy to buy time for their comrades on the beaches to escape. And the political background is explored with dramatic reconstructions of Churchill's meetings with the War cabinet.

Narrated by Timothy Dalton.