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Brian Cox delves into the history of addictive substances, travelling to China to learn how the seeds of modern-day opium addiction were planted during Britain's trading past.

Scotland is plagued with over 50,000 drug addicts and one of the roots of this addiction is the opium poppy. In this second episode, actor Brian Cox travels to China to discover how the seeds of this modern-day addiction were planted during the height of Britain's trading empire. Since then opium has fuelled the world's largest drug-smuggling operation, earned vast fortunes, triggered war with China and inspired medical breakthroughs. Brian Cox reveals how Britain unleashed the most dangerous of addictions on the world, and how the consequences still haunt us today.

1 hour

Last on

Thu 6 Dec 2012 00:20

When Britain made war on China

In June 1840 a fleet of British warships sailed into China's Pearl River Delta and unleashed a barrage of violence, overwhelming China's weak coastal defences and bringing the country to its knees. Read more...


Role Contributor
Presenter Brian Cox
Series Producer Richard Downes


  • Mon 3 Dec 2012 21:00
  • Thu 6 Dec 2012 00:20