IAN HISLOP GOES OFF THE RAILS

20 Nov 2008 / BBC2 (originally BBC4).

Director & Producer: Deborah Lee.

Entertaining and informative documentary about the golden age of rail travel in Britain and how the infamous Beeching report of the 1960s led to the closure of a third of the country's lines and stations.

Presented by Ian Hislop.

 

I, CLAUDIUS

20 Sep - 6 Dec 1976 / BBC2.

Writer: Jack Pulman (based on the novels of Robert Graves) / Director: Herbert Wise / Producer: Martin Wisemore.

Brilliant award-winning historical drama series set in ancient Rome during the succesive reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius.

Starring: Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Sian Philipps, Brian Blessed, George Baker etc.

I Claudius (BBC).

I Claudius Project.

 

ILLUMINATIONS: THE PRIVATE LIVES OF MEDIEVAL KINGS

9 - 23 January 2012 / BBC4.

Documentary series about medieval illuminated manuscripts: (1) Ruling by the Book: A look at illuminated manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon rulers who created a united England (2) What a King Should Know: How medieval illuminated manuscripts gave power to the king and united the kingdom. (3) Libraries Gave Us Power: The illuminated scripts of the courts of the Tudors.

Presented by Dr. Janina Ramirez.

 

THE IMPRESSIONISTS

30 Apr - 14 May 2006 (3 eps) / BBC1.

Director: Tim Dunn / Writers: Colin Swash, Sarah Woods.

Drama series exploring the lives of French impressionist artists such as Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Manet. Based on actual historical evidence.

With: Julian Glover, Richard Armitage.

 

THE IMPRESSIONISTS: PAINTING AND REVOLUTION

16 July - 6 Aug 2011 (4 pts) / BBC2.

Drama-doc about the Impressionists. Presented by Waldemar Januszczak

 

IN DEEPEST BRITAIN

1965 & 1976-79 / BBC.

Series 1: 06 July - 10 Aug 1965 (6 x 35 mins) / BBC1.
Series 2: 24 June - 29 July 1976 (6 x 30 mins) / BBC2
Series 3: 28 May - 2 July 1977 (6 x 30 mins) / BBC2.
Series 4: 18 May - 22 June 1978 (6 x 30 mins) + 3 specials on 21 Dec 1976, 25 Dec 1977 and 28 Jan 1979 / BBC2.

Documentary series in which a group of naturalists explore the countryside of Britain, making unscripted observations about the surroundings and wildlife. With Richard Mabey, John Gooders etc.

 

IN SEARCH OF MOZART

10 - 24 Jan 2006 (3 pts) / Channel 5.

Director: Phil Grabsky.

Acclaimed documentary series about the life and works of W A Mozart, featuring interviews with and performances by leading contemporary exponents of his music.

Narrated by Juliet Stephenson. Mozart's words are voiced by Sam West.

In search of Mozart - website.

 

INSIDE THE MEDIEVAL MIND

17 Apr - 10 May 2008 (4 x 60 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary series exploring the worldview and lifestyle of the Middle Ages (800 - 1400 AD) using the evidence from historical texts: (1) Knowledge - the development of scholarship, science and the discovery of new worlds. (2) Sex. (3) Belief. (4) Power.

Presented by Professor Robert Bartlett.

 

INTO THE STORM

2 Nov 2009 (90 mins) / BBC2.

Writer: High Whitemore / Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan.

Outstanding drama about Prime Minister Winston Churchill focusing on his stirring leadership during the Second World War. Worthy successor to the equally fine "The Gathering Storm".

Starring Brendan Gleeson, Janet McTeer.

 

IRELAND - A TELEVISION HISTORY

2 Dec 1980 - 24 Feb 1981 (13 x 50 mins) / Channel 4.

Documentary history of Ireland from the very beginnings to the present day.

Writer & Presenter: Robert Kee.

 

JESUS OF NAZARETH

April 1977 (2 x 180 min eps) / BBC1.

Director: Franco Zefferelli / Producer: Lew Grade.

Epic and highly acclaimed TV film about the life of Jesus Christ, with probably the most illustrious cast list in film history. Robert Powell is outstanding in the title role.

Starring: Robert Powell.

 

JONESTOWN: THE WORLD'S BIGGEST MASS SUICIDE

27 Jan 2008 (85 mins) / BBC2

Producer & Director:Stanley Nelson / Producer: Noland Walker.

Sad and disturbing story about the People's Temple, a religious cult set up by self-styled preacher Jim Jones in the 1970s. Hundreds of devotees were eventually ordered to commit suicide by their deranged leader in the communal village of Jonestown in the jungles of Guyana.

 

THE JOY OF MOTORING

29 Nov 2009 / BBC2

Producer & Director: James Runcie.

Far from being a celebration of the motor car, this fascinating documentary looks at the history of motoring in Britain and how it has impacted negatively on our beautiful countrside and cities.

Written and presented by Tristram Hunt.

 

KEN FOLLETT'S JOURNEY INTO THE DARK AGES

Jan 2013 (2x50 mins) / More 4

Two part documentary looking at aspects of the medieval period: (1) Great Women of the Middle Ages - includes figures such as Hildegard of Bingen and Marguerite Porete. (2) The Black Death.

Written and presented by Ken Follett.

 

KING ALFRED AND THE ANGLO-SAXONS

6-20 Aug 2013 (3x60 mins) / BBC4.

Documentary series about the legendary King of Wessex, Alfred (849–899), who not only helped to save his kingdom from Viking conquest but laid down the foundations for the creation of England.

Written and presented by Michael Wood.

 

KRAKATOA

2005 (rpt 25/2/2006) / Channel 4.

Executive producer: Stuart Carter.

Exceptionally well made documentary drama about the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano off southen Sumatra in 1883 - the biggest explosion in human history. Told from the perspective of islanders, settlers and scientists in the region at the time, and with contributions from modern-day researchers. Filmed on location and brought to life with historical reconstructions and remarkable computer graphics.

Krakatoa (WIKI info).

 

THE LAST DAYS OF THE LEHMAN BROTHERS

9 Sep 2009 (60 mins) / BBC2.

Clever drama about events leading up to the biggest corporate bankruptcy in history, revealing the greed and hubris that proved to be the undoing of one of the world's largest investment institutions - Lehman Brothers.

With: James Cromwell, Ben Daniels, Corey Johnson, Michael Landes, James Bolam.

 

THE LAST DAYS OF THE RAJ

12 Mar 2007 (85 mins) / Channel 4.

Writer: Mark Hayhurst / Director: Carl Hindmarch / Producers: Amy Flanagan & Mark Hayhurst.

Drama-doc looking at the last few months of the British in India in 1947. Partition of the country led to appalling large-scale sectarian violence and the forced migration of millions.

With: JAMES WILBY as Lord Mountbatten, ROSHAN SETH as Jawahalal Nehru, SASKI REEVES as Lady Mountbatten.

 

THE LEGACY OF LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

16 & 23 Jan 2010 (2 x 60 mins) / BBC2.

The life of the extraordinary English adventurer and soldier T. E. Lawrence, focusing on his experiences in the deserts of the Middle East mobilising the Arab tribes against the Ottoman empire during WW1.

Presented by Rory Stewart.

 

LIFE

12 Oct - 14 Dec 2009 (x 10) / BBC1

Monumental nature documentary series looking at the behaviour and survival strategies of animals around the world

Written and narrated by David Attenborough.

Life (WIKI)

 

THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

7 - 28 Nov 1982 (4 parts) / Channel 4.

Directors: Trevor Nunn, Jim Goddard, John Caird / Producer: Colin Calendar.

Wonderful television adaptation of Dickens' novel, filmed on stage at the "Old Vic" (London) and featuring actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Starring: ROGER REES as Nicholas Nickleby, FULTON McKAY as Squeers, DAVID THRELFALL as Smike.

 

LIFE IN COLD BLOOD

4 Feb - 3 Mar 2008 (5 pts) / BBC1.

Nature documentary series about Reptiles and Amphibians.

Written and presented by David Attenborough.

Life in Cold Blood (BBC).

 

LIFE ON EARTH

16 Jan - 10 Apr 1979 (13 x 55 mins) / BBC1.

Exec. Producer: Christopher Parsons.

Pioneering natural history documentary series about the evolution of life on Earth from single-celled animals to Man. A landmark in broadcasting history that set new standards for future wildlife film producers.

Presented by David Attenborough.

Life on Earth (Wiki).

 

THE LIFE OF MAMMALS

20 Nov 2002 - 22 Jan 2004 (10 x 60 mins) / BBC1.

Producer: Mike Salisbury

Acclaimed series looking at the extraordinary diversity of mammals on planet Earth and the reasons for their success.

Presented by David Attenborough.

The Life of Mammals (wiki).

 

THE LIGHTHOUSE STEVENSONS

1 Feb 2011 (60 mins) / BBC2.

Director: Les Wilson / Producer: Faye Maclean / Writer: Les Wilson.

Outstanding documentary exploring the work of the Stevenson family, several generations of whom became famous for building lighthouses across Scotland from the late 18th to the early 20th century. Also amongst their number was R. L. Stevenson, author of novels such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped.

 

LITTLE SHIPS

3 June 2010 (BBC2).

Director/Producer: Linda Sands

Absorbing account of the flotilla of assorted civilian boats that helped to evacuate soldiers from the beaches at Dunkirk in May 1940 during World War 2.

Presented by Dan Snow.

 

THE LIVING PLANET

19 Jan - 12 Apr 1984 (12 x 50 mins) / BBC1.

Exec. Producer: Richard Brock.

Ambitious wildlife series (sequel to "Life on Earth" above) showing how living organisms adapted to the diverse conditions found on planet Earth.

Presented by David Attenborough.

The Living Planet (Wiki).

 

LOCAL HEROES

Jan 1996 - (series 1) & Jan 1997 - (series 2) / BBC2

Imaginative and very entertaining documentary series, hosted by Adam Hart-Davis, who cycles around Britain looking at the lives of various pioneering scientists and inventors. Their inventions are brought to life through working models.

Local Heroes (BBC factual).

 

LOCOMOTION: DAN SNOW'S HISTORY OF RAILWAYS

15-29 Jan 2013 (3x60 mins) / BBC2

A History of Britain's railway system from its beginnings as a trackway for coal-carts, through the age of steam and the rapid proliferation of passenger and freight networks, its use during two world wars, post-war nationalisation etc. Presented by Dan Snow.

 

LONGITUDE

30 & 31 Dec 2000 (2 eps) / Channel 4

Writer / Director: Charles Sturridge (based on the book by Dava Sobel) / Producer: Selwyn Roberts

Superb drama-documentary about the quest of an 18th century scientist to build a mechanical instrument that would accurately measure longitude at sea.

With: Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon, Ian Hart.

 

LONG REMEMBERED HILLS (Music and Place)

2002 / BBC2 - Open university

Documentary about the 20th century British composers, Herbert Howells and Ivor Gurney, and how they were inspired by the Gloucestershire countryside in which they lived.

Read the full review.

 

LOOK

1955 - 1967 / BBC.

Pioneering nature documentary series featuring presenters such as David Attenborough, Peter Scott etc.

Episodes (incomplete): Foxes (1955); Flight (1957); Out of the Egg (1958); The Fulmar (1958); The Best of Walter Higham (1961); The Silent Watcher (1961); Private Life of the Kingfisher (1966) - the latter, directed by Ronald and Rosemary Eastman, was the first production to be transmitted in colour on the BBC.

 

LOST AND FOUND

24 Dec 2008 (25 mins) / Channel 4

Director: Philip Hunt

Entrancing computer animation about a boy who finds a penguin on his doorstep and decides to return him to his antarctic home. Based on the book by Oliver Jeffers.

Narrated by Jim Broadbent.

 

LOST CITIES OF THE ANCIENTS

Sep 2006 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC2

Fascinating documentary series about the rise and fall of the capital cities of three ancient civilisations:

(1) The Vanished city of the Pharaoh. The Ancient Egyptian Capital of Piramesse.

(2) The Cursed Valley of the Pyramids. The ruined city of Tucume in Northern Peru, once the centre of the Lambeyeque civilisation.

(3) The Dark Lords of Hattusha. Why did the powerful Hittite empire with its remote capita Hattusha collapse and remain unrecorded by historians for so long?

 

THE LOST GOSPEL OF JUDAS

23 Dec 2006 / Channel 4.

Drama-documentary about the recent discovery of an ancient text known as the Gospel of Judas. It follows the work of experts as they attempt to restore, date and authenticate the rapidly disintegrating parchment.

Gospel of Judas (WIKI).

 

THE LOST GOSPELS

15 Mar 2008 (90 mins) / BBC2.

Documentary exploring the large number of ancient Christian texts which were not included in the official Bible. Filmed on location in the Middle-East.

Presented by the Rev. Peter Owen Jones.

 

THE LOST PRINCE

Jan 2003 / BBC1 (2 eps) / BBC1.

Writer / Director: Stephen Poliakoff.

Superb historical Drama about Prince John, the epileptic and autistic son of King George V (reigned 1910 - 1936), who was shunted out of public view and brought up by a nanny for much of his short life. The film sensitively documents the private and public life of the royal family (c. World war I) and historical events as seen through the eyes of an innocent child.

The Lost Prince (BBC).

Prince John (WIKI info).

 

THE LOST WORLD OF COMMUNISM

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

Director & Producer: Bill Treharne Jones.

Documentary series about life in the eastern bloc countries before the collapse of communism. With first person testimonies and archive footage.

The Lost World of Communism (WIKI).

 

THE LOST WORLD OF TIBET

12 Apr 2008 / BBC2 (first shown on BBC4).

Director/Producer: Emma Hindley.

Documentary about life and religious observances in Tibet before the Chinese invaded in 1950 - using archive colour footage and witness testimony (including the current Dalai Lama).

Narrated by Dan Cruikshank

 

LOVE AGAIN

26 July 2003 / BBC2

Superb drama about the renowned British poet, Phillip Larkin, his tangled romantic relationships and the various aspects of his character providing a revealing backdrop to his poetry.

With: Hugh Bonneville, Tara Fitzgerald.

Official "Love Again" website.

 

LUSITANIA: MURDER ON THE ATLANTIC

27 May 2007 (90 mins) / BBC1.

Writer: Sarah Williams / Director: Christopher Spencer.

On 7 May 1915, the British Ocean liner Lusitania, carrying nearly 2000 passengers and crew, was hit by a single German U-Boat torpedo. The ship sank in less than 20 minutes with the loss of 1198 lives. This evocative drama, with the help of computer animation, looks at the events leading up to the sinking and the subsequent attempt to cover-up the facts by the Government.

With John Hannah, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Feast.