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A Taste for Power

Episode 1 of 5

Jeremy Paxman traces the story of the British Empire. He begins by asking how such a small country got such a big head and came to rule a quarter of the world.

Jeremy Paxman traces the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known: the British Empire. In the first programme, he asks how such a small country got such a big head, and how a tiny island in the North Atlantic came to rule over a quarter of the world's population. He travels to India, where local soldiers and local maharajahs helped a handful of British traders to take over vast areas of land. Spectacular displays of imperial power dazzled subject peoples and developed a cult of Queen Victoria as Empress, mother and virtual God. In Egypt, Jeremy explores the bit of Empire that never was, as Britain's temporary peace-keeping visit turned into a seventy year occupation. He travels to the desert where Lawrence of Arabia brought a touch of romance to the grim struggle of the First World War. As Britain came to believe it could solve the world's problems, he tells the story of the triumphant conquest of Palestine by Imperial troops - and Britain's role in a conflict that haunts the Middle East to this day.

1 hour

Last on

Wed 26 Sep 2018 22:00

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Role Contributor
Presenter Jeremy Paxman
Director John Hay
Director Roger Parsons
Series Producer Julian Birkett


  • Mon 27 Feb 2012 21:00
  • Tue 28 Feb 2012 21:00
  • Sun 4 Mar 2012 22:25
  • Mon 16 Apr 2012 01:25
  • Wed 26 Sep 2018 22:00