Friday 20 Dec 2013
BBC One's Merlin returns, with a thrilling two-part opener to the new series.
Merlin faces his toughest challenge yet when Morgana's blinkered determination threatens not only Arthur's future, but also the very balance of the world. With her magic stronger than ever, the sorceress summons the mighty Callieach to tear open the veil between the worlds.
Hellish creatures pour forth, killing all who succumb to their touch. With Uther a shadow of his former self, it falls to Arthur and his loyal knights, including Lancelot, to protect the kingdom.
But it will take more than just swords to vanquish their enemy and Merlin is shocked to the core when he discovers the only way to restore the equilibrium requires a sacrifice of unimaginable proportions...
Colin Morgan plays Merlin, Katie McGrath plays Morgana, Bradley James plays Arthur, Gemma Jones plays Callieach, Anthony Head plays Uther and Santiago Cabrera plays Lancelot.
Merlin also stars Richard Wilson as Gaius, Angel Coulby as Gwen, Nathaniel Parker as Agravaine, John Hurt as the voice of The Dragon, Tom Hopper as Sir Percival, Eoin Macken as Sir Gwaine, Adetomiwa Edun as Sir Elyan and Rupert Young as Sir Leon. Emilia Fox guest stars as Morgause.
In this three-part series, part of BBC Two's Mixed Race Season, George Alagiah explores the remarkable and untold story of Britain's mixed-race communities.
With previously unseen archive material and charting events from the turn of the 20th century, Mixed Britannia examines the social factors that have influenced the shape of today's mixed-race Britain, and how mixed race has become one of the country's fastest-growing ethnic groups. Most of all, the films tell a tale of love and of couples coming together to fight prejudice and create a new society.
The first film (1910-1939) discovers the love between merchant seamen and liberated female workers and how mixed-race communities started to grow up in places like Cardiff, Liverpool and South Shields.
George learns how mass rioting erupted across port cities as returning soldiers found local girls in relationships with non-white men. He also hears from a grandchild of one of the mixed-race couples who were chased out of their family home by an angry crowd.
The film also covers the period when eugenicists turned their attention to race and George hears from an elderly English-Chinese woman, Connie Hoe, who recalls how, as a young girl, she and her friends were examined and measured in tests carried out by the British Eugenics Society.
The film also examines how Britain avoided the race laws and largely escaped the race hatred of fascism that scarred other countries in Europe.
Nel Hedayat goes on a compelling and revealing journey to find out what life is really like for a child bride. Across the world, 10 million girls a year marry under the age of 18; that's one every three seconds.
Nel travels to India and Bangladesh, countries with two of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Nel is no stranger to the idea of child marriage – her aunties and grandmothers were child brides – but what she sees challenges everything she thought.
She attends the eye-opening wedding of two sisters in Rajasthan – one barely in her teens and her even younger sibling. In Bangladesh, the programme meets a 14-year-old girl who was married last year to a 19-year-old man and is now four months pregnant.
Nel meets women who regret missing out on carefree childhoods and a chance to study. She learns that early marriage frequently leads to early pregnancy and painful, life-threatening labours. The film features child brides in Bangladesh who give birth before their bodies are fully developed and end up with a horrific medical condition that leaves them social outcasts.
But Nel also sees real signs of optimism. She meets girls who have defied their families' attempts to marry them off, including one in India who is part of a growing movement of rural girls who insist on staying in school, and a girl in Bangladesh who relishes the independence that working in Dhaka's garment industry has given her.
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