Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Two Autumn and Winter 2010/2011

Diverse, stimulating and rewarding television on BBC Two
Ancient Worlds

Ancient Worlds

Archaeologist and historian Richard Miles embarks on a six-part odyssey from the first cities of Mesopotamia to the Christianisation of the Roman Empire to tell the story of what he argues is mankind’s greatest achievement – civilisation.

This strongly authored series offers an epic sweep of history against a panorama of stunning locations and bold propositions about the origins of human society.

In the West, the term "civilisation" has been consigned to the museum display case. Embarrassed by its chauvinistic and elitist connotations, we have increasingly taken refuge in more politically correct and soft-focused terms such as "culture" to explain human origins. This series seeks to rescue civilisation from its enforced retirement and celebrate such a hard-fought invention.

CD3

BBC Productions

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History Of Ancient Britain – Part I

History Of Ancient Britain – Part I

Neil Oliver embarks on an epic quest through thousands of years of ancient history to tell the story of how Britain and its people came to be.

The first part of the story takes him from the glacial wasteland of ice-age mammoth hunters, through the glories of the Stone Age, to the magnificence of international Bronze Age society.

To piece together this remarkable story, Neil travels the length and breadth of the British Isles exploring some of its greatest wonders and revealing how science is solving mysteries while getting hands-on experience of ancient technology.

Tapping into the latest discoveries and experimental archaeology, History Of Ancient Britain – Part I gets under the skin of this mysterious world, the lives of the people who inhabited it, and the tipping points that changed their lives – and made ours.

History Of Ancient Britain – Part II will continue the story through the Iron Age and the Celtic kings to the Romans.

CD3

BBC Productions

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Pompeii and Pompeii Night

Pompeii

Mary Beard, Cambridge Professor of Classics and author of Pompeii – The Life Of A Roman Town, gleans evidence from an extraordinary find in the ancient city of Pompeii to provide a fascinating new insight into the people who lived in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius before its cataclysmic eruption in 79AD.

In a dark cellar in Oplontis, a suburb of ancient Pompeii, the remains of more than 50 victims of the eruption are put under the microscope of forensic science. The remains are submitted to a barrage of tests that, together with a fresh look at other finds in the city, unlock a valuable scientific snapshot of Pompeiian life – and there are some surprises in store.

The programme features a visit to bars, dining rooms and an ancient cesspit, where viewers can see what really went through ancient digestive tracts.

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A Lion TV production

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BATTLE OF BRITAIN SEASON

BATTLE OF BRITAIN SEASON

As part of a special pan-BBC season marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, BBC Two presents a series of programmes bringing to life the most significant air battle in British history.

First Light is an intimate one-off drama-documentary telling the extraordinary story of 19-year-old Geoffrey Wellum, one of the youngest pilots to participate in the battle.

Based on Geoffrey's personal and deeply moving memoirs, the film is a compelling testimony of his wartime experiences, revisiting the stark emotions and fiery action that dazzled and terrified him as a young man and changed his life forever.

Serving as a pertinent reminder of courage and sacrifice, and providing the audience with a unique opportunity to relive real experiences and emotions, the programme combines evocative drama on the ground and in the air. Through computer graphics and real-time Spitfire flying, First Flight captures the claustrophobia of the cockpit and the frenzy of one-on-one dog fighting.

In Battle Of Britain – The Real Story, writer and historian James Holland presents a unique examination of the tactics, technologies and intelligence on both sides of the conflict during the extraordinary summer of 1940. Drawing on specialist research, and first-hand testimonies from the Germans and the British, James presents a striking new analysis of this most epic of stories and evaluates the impact of the battle and its place in history.

Out of the darkness of the Second World War, British artists created a kaleidoscope of colour – huge canvases and intimate sketches, posters and portraits, cartoons and chaotic battle scenes. In a one-off special, the Culture Show explores these extraordinary and diverse works of art. Some have become iconic images – enduring art works that instantly evoke the period – others have been virtually forgotten. But, whether their creators were official war artists or anonymous graphic designers, they were responding to the most intense human experiences imaginable.

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First Light, a Lion TV/Manray Media production

Battle Of Britain – The Real Story, a Maya Vision International production

Culture Show Special, BBC Productions, Scotland

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The British At Work

The British At Work

Kirsty Young's trademark engaging and inquisitive presence combines with intimate testimony and vibrant archive in this major four-part exploration of the post-war British workplace which, like it or not, dominates the bulk of our time.

For many people, their relationship with work is one of the most important connections they make in their lives. It is the arena in which many find self-fulfilment, and is tightly bound to social status. Work is also a place to find best friends, close colleagues, comrades, lovers and enemies.

The British At Work talks to people with vivid recollections of how work has changed, hears stories of practical changes and discovers what it was like to run effective workplaces before the emergence of the technologies now taken for granted.

It is also a story of revolutions in working practices and more subtle changes which ripple through workplaces over years of transformation, of personality clashes and petty disputes that colour the experience of work.

PH

A BBC Current Affairs production

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Edwardian Farm

Edwardian Farm

Following the hugely successful Victorian Farm, archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and domestic historian Ruth Goodman return to BBC Two to experience life on an Edwardian farm.

Facing a brand new set of challenges, the intrepid trio are forced to get to grips with the trials and tribulations of life at the turn of the 20th century.

Setting up home on a Devon farm, the team will spend a full year exploring the challenges posed by the British countryside at a time of great change and tumult; a time when farming was becoming increasingly mechanised at home, while the world was moving gradually towards war.

The action will be based primarily on the farm, although the stunning new location will also allow the team to explore other areas of the wider working countryside, including rivers, coasts and mines.

From investigating the impact of water-powered machines and the world's first tractor to fishing and market gardening, the team will engage in a host of challenging activities, once again delving into Britain's rural heritage to discover how Edwardian farmers recovered from the agricultural depression leaner, fitter and more diverse than ever before.

CD4

A Lion Television production

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Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

Historian Amanda Vickery goes behind the stately exterior of the Georgian house in a new three-part series in which she reveals how the British passion for homes began.

Delving beneath the surface, Amanda brings the 18th-century house back to life, opening a fascinating window onto a golden age of home-making. From stately piles to modest townhouses, she shows how today's obsession with refurbishing and beautifying has its roots in the Georgian era.

But it wasn't just the look of the interiors that were transformed. Everything from courtship and marriage to socialising and class mobility was changed by this new focus on the home.

Looking at artefacts, letters, diaries, even evidence from criminal trials, Amanda uses her research to offer fresh insights into the private lives of the richest and the poorest, and the intriguing world of the newly emerging "middling" classes.

Through dramatic reconstruction of the personal stories of characters from the era, the audience is given an insight into the dreams, hopes and fears of the Georgian homebuilders.

KA

A Matchlight production

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The Do-Gooders

The Do-Gooders

Ian Hislop looks at the dramatic 19th-century cultural revolution that saw Britain undergo one of the most remarkable periods of social change in our history. Focusing on attitudes to children, alcohol and institutional morality, The Do-Gooders uncovers the achievements of those high-minded men and women whose legacy was a Britain worth living in.

Victorian do-goodery is often mocked as hypocrisy, when in fact it rescued a society in turmoil and put in place many of the social bearings that are still relied upon today. These extraordinary people were just as much the engineers of modern Britain as Isambard Kingdom Brunel or George Stephenson – they looked at the equivalent of today's so-called "broken Britain" and had the conviction and energy to try to "fix" it.

The Do-Gooders is packed with extraordinary characters, fascinating vignettes and contemporary resonances. Re-telling these stories might just help to relocate the values bequeathed by the Victorians which, though easily mocked, are ultimately cherished.

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Wingspan Productions

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The Bible's Buried Secrets

The Bible's Buried Secrets

Hebrew Scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou examines how recent archaeological discoveries are changing the way stories from The Bible are interpreted and how these, in turn, are forcing a re-assessment of the understanding of the legacy of Judaism, Christianity and Islam both in the Middle East and in the West.

In a new three-part series, Francesca travels to major archaeological digs throughout the Middle East to investigate the origins of the story of the Garden of Eden, the emergence of the worship of one God and the historical context of King David and his wondrous kingdom.

She also visits Khirbet Qeiyafa, a fortified city in Judah from the time of King David, and the ancient city of Ugarit in Syria, considered to be the single most important biblical archaeological discovery of the last century.

Following Francesca on her journey through some of the world's most beautiful but inaccessible landscapes, The Bible's Buried Secrets aims to place some of its most iconic stories into a new historical context.

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BBC Productions, Manchester

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