9 - 23 Feb 2011 (3 parts) / BBC2
Producer/Director: Sally Thomson
Exquisitely filmed wildlife documentary about the island off the east coast of Africa, 1000 miles long, and teeming with unique species. Narrated by David Attenborough.
24 Feb 1996 (60 mins)/ BBC2 (Freeway films).
Mike Alexander / Producer: John McGrath.
Award winning historical drama about the Scottish singer Mairi Mhor, who was thrown off the Isle of Skye during the infamous land clearances. This inspired her to compose and sing songs highlighting the injustices suffered by the highlanders at the hands of their unscrupulous landlords. Dialogue is mostly Gaelic (with subtitles) and Mhor's original songs are sung by Catherine-Ann MacPhee (CD available).
With: Alexis Daly as Mairi Mhor.
2 - 16 Dec 2005 (3 parts) / BBC2
Series Producer: Martha Holmes
Superior three part historical drama anthology, based around the real life stories of wild animals that have become maneaters, and the efforts of huntsman to track down and kill them. The episodes were: (1) The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag. (2) The Man-eating Lions of Ndjombe. (3) The Man-eating Wolves of Gysinge.
2004 - 2005 (2 series) / BBC2.
Documentary series highlighting the journeys taken by the individuals who produced some of Britain's most important, and ground-breaking, maps.
Presented by Nicholas Crane.
Map Man (WIKI).
MARIN MERSENNE - THE BIRTH OF MODERN GEOMETRY
/ BBC2 (Open University).
Docudrama about a 17th century French Monk and scholar who helped bring together some of the finest minds of the age to form Europe's first scientific community. The history is brought to life using original manuscripts and dramatic reenactments, and the various geometric proofs, from the Ancient Greeks to Descartes, are nicely animated.
26 Feb 2009 (100 mins) / BBC2.
Writer: Richard Cotton / Director: James Kent / Producer: Sanne Wohlenburg.
Fascinating drama about the fall from power of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1990. Increasingly seen as out of step on Europe, many in the parliamentary party saw her as an electoral liability and looked around for an alternative candidate to lead the party.
With Lindsay Duncan as Margaret Thatcher..
MARGARET THATCHER - THE LONG WALK TO FINCHLEY
28 Feb 2009 (85 mins) / BBC2 (first shown on BBC4).
Writer: Tony Saint / Director: Niall MacCormick / Producer: Madonna Baptiste.
First-rate satirical comic drama about the struggle of Britain's first woman Prime Minister to be selected as a Tory Candidate (she eventually won the seat of Finchley, London, in 1959.
With ANDREA RISEBOROUGH as Margaret Thatcher, RORY KINNEAR as Denni Thatcher, SAMUEL WEST as Ted Heath.
MARY SEACOLE: THE REAL ANGEL OF THE CRIMEA
26 June 2005 (49 mins) / Channel
4 (October films).
Director: Sonali fernando / Producer: Paul Kerr / Exec. Prod.:Adam Bullmore.
First-rate drama-documentary about an extraordinary woman. Born in Jamaica in 1805 of mixed race, Mary Seacole learnt traditional Creole medicine from her mother. She became renowned as a nurse and healer after volunteering her services during the Crimean War.
With ANGELA BRUCE as Mary Seacole.
Mary Seacole - Channel 4.
4 May 2007 (90 mins)/ BBC2.
Quality drama about the last days of infamous British businessman and newspaper proprietor Robert Maxwell. A fine performance from David Suchet in the title role.
With DAVID SUCHET as Robert Maxwell.
5 June 2005 / BBC2 (Storyville).Director:
Fascinating and revealing documentary about the two British environmental campaigners, Dave Morris and Helen Steel, who were sued for libel by McDonalds and effectively won a landmark victory against both the corporation and the British Government. For McDonalds this turned out to be a PR disaster.
Mclibel (Spanner films).
17 and 18 May 1997 / Channel 4.
Director: James Cellan Jones / Producer: Dennis Woolf.
and informative dramatisation of the McLibel trial,
in which McDonalds, the multi billion fast food
corporation, sued two British environmental activists
(Dave Morris and Helen Steele) for libel. McDonalds
spent millions and engaged top Libel Lawyer Richard
Rampton QC, by contrast Steel and Morris had to defend
themselves on a shoestring.
With Julia Sawalha, Peter Hugo-Daly, Malcolm Sinclair, Clive Merrison.
THE MEDICI: GODFATHERS OF THE RENAISSANCE
2003 ( 4 x 60mins) / Channel 4.
Drama-documentary series about the rise and fall of the powerful ruling Medici family of Florence. It also examines the lives of the great italian Artist and scientists of the time such as Da Vinci and Galileo.
The Medici (C4).
MEDICINE THROUGH TIME
1998 (Repeated several times) /
BBC2 (BBC Scotland - Welcome Trust).
Drama-documentary series (for UK GCSE students) chronicling the development and practice of medicine throughout the ages. Covering ancient Greek, medieval and renaissance medicine, with special emphasis on the work of Galen, Vesalius, and Harvey, it also looks at Public health reform in 19th century Britain and surgical developments during the First World War. The dramatic reconstructions are nicely staged.
BBC Bitsize GCSE website.
MELVYN BRAGG'S TRAVELS IN WRITTEN BRITAIN
6 - 27 Apr 2008 (4 pts) / ITV1.
Director: David Thomas / Series Producer: Jonathan Levi.
A tour around Britain exploring the literary heritage associated with various places
Written and presented by Melvyn Bragg.
MEN OF IDEAS
19 Jan - 27 Apr 1978 (15 x 45 min) / BBC2.
A series of dialogues in which leading philosophers expound on various philosophical topics such as Marxism, Existentialism, Logical Positivism, Chomsky, Linguistics, Science etc. Presented by Bryan Magee. See also "The Great Philosophers".
MEN OF ROCK
13-27 Jan 2011 (3x60 mins) / BBC2.
Documentary series about the pioneering geologists who made important discoveries through their investigations of the Scottish landscape: (1) Deep Time: The story of James Hutton, the founding father of geology (2) Moving Mountains: How geologist Edward Bailey discovered that Scotland once had super volcanoes (3) The work of Louis Agassiz, who first proposed the idea of an "Ice Age", and James Croll.
Presented by Iain Stewart
26 Feb 1973 (50 mins) / BBC2.
Director: Edward Mirzoeff.
Acclaimed documentary about suburban life around the Metropolitan railway line - north-west of London. Notable for its distinctive verse and commentary from Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman.
Written and presented by Sir John Betjeman.
MICROBES AND MEN
18 Sep - 23 Oct 1974 (6 Parts) / BBC2.
Writers: Martin Worth, John Wiles, Bruce Norman.
Excellent drama-documentary series on the Doctors and Scientists who advanced our understanding of the cause and cure of disease in the 19th and 20th centuries.
With: ROBERT LANG as Ignas Semmelweiss, ARTHUR LOWE as Louis Pasteur, JAMES GROUT as Robert Koch, MILO O'SHEA as Paul Erlich.
The Mausoleum Club (series details can be downloaded as an acrobat document).
Microbes and Men (info about the Book).
THE MIRACLE MAKER
(90 mins) / BBC2
Directors: Derek Hayes, Stanislav Sokolov.
The biblical story of Jesus recreated in a mix of 3-D model and conventional graphic animation.
Featuring the voices of: Ralph Fiennes, Julie Christie, Richard E Grant, Ian Holm, William Hurt and Bob Peck.
2004 - 2006 / Channel 4
Series 1 (6 x 60 mins): 18 Oct - 22 Nov 2004.
Series 2 (5 x 60 mins): 2005.
Series 3 (5 x 60 mins): 13 Nov - 11 Dec 2006.
Series 4, The Windsors (100 mins): 26 Dec 2007.
Authoritative and engaging history of the Kings and Queens of England from the dark ages to the present day.
Written and presented by David Starkey.
May 2005 (3 parts) / BBC2
fascinating social experiment in which 5 men volunteer
to spend 40 days and night in a Benedictine Monastery
(Worth Abbey in the south of England). They take full
part in monastic life including prayer, meditation,
regular church offices, counselling, work etc. An unexpected ratings
success for the BBC. Also see, "The Convent" and "The Big Silence".
The Monastery - Worth Abbey.
1 Sep 1958 - 1965 / BBC.
Ground breaking documentary series about the arts. Now remembered for showing many acclaimed short films by Ken Russell - such as "Elgar". Presented by Huw Weldon, Jonathan Miller.
Note: Some episodes available to view online at BBC Archive .
19 Sep 2009 / BBC.
Documentary about the ascent of the Aztec leader, Montezuma, and his evential defeat by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.
Presented by Dan Brown.
MONTY DON'S ITALIAN GARDENS
12 Apr - 6 May 2011 (4 pts) / BBC2.
A horticultural tour of the grand gardens of Italy, their history and features.
Presented by Monty Don.
July - 26 Aug 2007 (5 eps) / BBC1.
Entertaining travelogue taking the viewer on a journey through the mountains and peaks of Britain.
Presented by Griff Rhys Jones.
Mountain - BBC1.
THE MOUNTAIN THAT HAD TO BE PAINTED
2011 (60 MINS) / BBC4.
Director: John Holdsworth / Producer: John Holdsworth / Exec. Producer: Jonty Claypole.
Documentary about the landscape art created by two British artists, Augustus John and James Dickson Innes, who, in 1911, left London for a painting expedition in the Arenig Valley in North Wales.
MY BOY JACK
11 Nov 2007 / ITV1.
Writer: David Haig / Director: Brian Kirk / Producers: Michael Casey & Douglas Rae.
Effective historical drama telling the story of renowned author and patriot, Rudyard Kipling, and his son Jack who was tragically killed in action during WW1.
Starring: David Haig, Daniel Radcliffe, Kim Cattrall.
My Boy Jack - ITV1.
20-23 Dec 2010 (4x25 mins) / BBC1.
Writer: Tony Jordan / Director: Coky Giedroyc / Producer: Ruth Kenley-Letts.
Quality drama series based on the nativity story of Jesus. Filmed on location, this production strikes a nice balance between traditional and contemporary.
With Tatiana Maslany as MARY, Andrew Buchan as JOSEPH, Jack Shepherd as MELCHIOR, Peter Capaldi as BALTHASAR, Frances Barber s ELIZABETH, Art Malik as NICOLAUS etc.
NATURAL BORN HEALERS
13 Nov - 18 Dec 1997 (6 pts) /
Director & Producer: Josh Halil.
Documentary series about Complementary Medicine. Each week a different patient suffering from a chronic medical problem is treated using one type of complementary therapy out of a choice of: Herbalism, Acupuncture, Hypnotherapy, Homeopathy, Osteopathy etc.
Presented by George Lewith.
THE NATURE OF BRITAIN
17 Oct - 5 Dec 2007 (6 pts) /
Series producer: Stephen Moss.
Fine Documentary series highlighting the natural world and heritage of Britain.
Presented by Alan Titchmarsh.
THE NAZIS: A WARNING FROM HISTORY
10 Sep - 15 Oct 1997, Rpt 30 April 2005 (6
eps) / BBC2
Series Creator: Laurence Rees
Bafta winning series documenting the rise and fall of the Nazis in Germany from 1919 to 1945.
THE NHS: A DIFFICULT BEGINNING
5 July 2008 / BBC2
Director: Ian MacMillan / Producer: Mark Hayhurst.
Excellent drama-documentary about the six months leading up to the launch of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) on the 5 July 1948. Welcomed by patients but initially fiercely opposed by Doctors, it owed its existence to the vision and energy of one man - Nye Bevan, the Labour Government's Health Minister.
With: Patrick Brennan as Nye Bevan.
See also "Food for Ravens".
NICHOLAS CRANE'S BRITANNIA: THE GREAT ELIZABETHAN JOURNEY
6 -20 Jan 2009 (3 x 60 mins) / BBC2
Director / Producer: Michael Waterhouse.
An exploration of Britain using an Elizabethan travel guide written by William Camden.
Presented by Nicholas Crane.
27 Feb - 20 Mar 2004 (3 x 50 mins) / BBC2.
Exceptional Documentary series exploring the great river Nile in all its aspects - history, geography, Wildlife etc. Superb orchestral soundtrack. Episodes:
1. Crocodiles and Kings
2. The great Flood.
3. The Search for the Source.
Narrator: Simon McCorkindale
1929: THE GREAT CRASH
24 Jan 2009 / BBC2.
Documentary about the causes and consequences of the stock market crash of 1929.
The Wall Street Crash (WIKI).
NOT FORGOTTEN: THE MEN WHO WOULDN'T FIGHT
10 Nov 2008 (55 mins) / Channel 4.
Director & Producer: Tom McCarthy.
Intelligent and revealing documentary about the British conscientious objectors who refused to fight during World War I.
Presented by Ian Hislop.
24 & 31 May 2006 (2 pts) / BBC1.
Another stunning CGI-based nature documentary from the BBC which narrates the fictional (but based on real life) underwater adventures of a sperm whale. On the way it gives an astonishing insight into life in the ocean depths and provides graphic evidence of the negative impact man is having on the environment there.
OLIVER CROMWELL - WARTS AND ALL
24 Nov 2003 / BBC1.
Drama documentary about Oliver Cromwell, the parliamentarian who led the revolt against King Charles I which started the English Civil war of 1642 - 1649, and who eventually became Lord Protector of England.
18 - 22 Dec 2007 (5 pts) / BBC1.
Writer: Sarah Phelps / Director: Coky Giedroyc / Producer: Sarah Brown.
Superior period drama series based on the classic Charles Dickens novel.
With: Timothy Spall, Tom Hardy, Sophie Okonedo, William Turner etc.
13 Oct 1967 - 8 Jan 2003 / BBC1.
Award winning arts documentary series.
O THOU TRANSCENDENT: THE LIFE OF RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
1 Jan 2008 (approx 2' 40" mins)/ Channel
Director: Tony Palmer / Exec Producer: Kim Peat
Highly acclaimed documentary about the life and works of one of Britain's greatest composers (on the 50th anniversary of his death). Featuring interviews with family, friends, and admirers, and exclusive exerpts from his works.
A PASSION FOR CHURCHES
28 Dec 2005 - 12 April 2006 (12
parts) / BBC2.
Documentary series about the efforts of campaigners in Britain to preserve and restore Britain's unique ecclesiatical heritage. From Gorton Cathedral in Manchester to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland (which featured in the novel "The Da Vinci Code") churches still have a vital role to play.
16/17/21/23 Mar 2008 (4 pts) / BBC1
parts) / BBC2.
Writer: Frank Deasy / Director: Michael Offer / Producer: Nigel Stafford-Clark.
Quality drama about the last days of Jesus Christ, from arrival in Jerusalem to his crucifixion.
With: Joseph Mawle, James Nesbitt, Ben Daniels, Paul Nicholls etc.
PETER AND THE WOLF
24 Dec 2006 / Channel 4.
Director: Suzie Templeton.
Oscar-winning stop-motion animation of the well-known russian folk tale with music by Sergei Prokofiev.
2005 (6 pts) / BBC1.
Beautifully filmed documentary series looking at the British landscape and how it has inspired, writers, artists and composers. See also, Seven Ages of Britain.
Presented by David Dimbleby.
A Picture of Britain (BBC).
Tate exhibition - A Picture of Britain.
PISSED ON THE JOB
4 April 2004 / Channel 4.
Despite the tacky, lurid title, this was an honest, intelligent docudrama about the impact that alcohol has on the lives of ordinary everyday people.
5 Mar - 14 May 2006 (Series 1) / BBC1.
5 Nov - 10 Dec 2006 (Series 2) / BBC1
Producer: Vanessa Berlowitz / Series producer: Alastair Fothergill.
The latest in a series of spectacular and groundbreaking BBC nature documentary series. Each part is based around a central theme and makes use of the most up to date camera technology to capture wildlife footage never before seen on film.
Narrator: David Attenborough.
Planet Earth (BBC).
Planet Earth (WIKI).
1999 (8 x 50 mins) / BBC2.
Director: David Mcnab.
Documentary series about the Solar System and the history of space exploration using archive footage and CGI (computer-generated imagery).
Narrator: Samuel West.
PLAY FOR TODAY
1970 - 1984 / BBC1.
Long-running series of one-off dramas, successor to The Wednesday Play, which explored many different dramatic genres, some controversial, and featured many of the best playwrights of the day such as Dennis Potter, John Osbourne, Stephen Poliakoff, David Hare, Alan Bleasdale etc. Amongst its best-known productions - Abigail's Party.
PLAY OF THE MONTH
1965 - 1983 ( 122 plays) / BBC1.
Major long-running drama anthology featuring mainly classic plays (including literary adaptations) but also some newly-comissioned works. Some of the plays can be found in DVD collections:
Play of the Month (WIKI).
POPPANO'S ESSENTIAL RING CYCLE
17 May 2013 (90 mins) / BBC4.
Excellent guide to Wagner's famous 4-part operatic cycle - The Ring. Presented by conductor Antonio Pappano.
THE PRIVATE LIFE OF PLANTS
5 Jan - 9 Feb 1995 ( 6 x 50 mins) / BBC1.
Exec. Producer: Mike Salisbury.
Monumental nature documentary series covering all aspects of the life-cycle of plants. Filmed in locations all over the world and featuring some stunning time-lapse photography.
Presented by David Attenborough.
The Private Life of Plants (WIKI).
PUGIN - THE GOD OF GOTHIC (TIME TEAM SPECIAL)
1 Mar 2007 / Channel 4.
Director & Producer: Brendan Hughes.
Documentary exploring the life and work of Augustus Pugin, architect of the Houses of Parliament and responsible for the Victorian Gothic revival in Britain. Includes a tour of Pugin's own house in Ramsgate which has been restored by the Landmark Trust.
Presented by Tony Robinson.