The Art of Russia [BBC 3 parts]

Series in which art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon tells the incredible story of Russian art - its mystery and magnificence - and until now a story untold on British television.

Part 1: Out of the Forest



He explores the origins of the Russian icon from its roots in Byzantium and the first great Russian icon, Our Lady of Vladimir to the masterpieces of the country's most famous icon painter, Andrei Rublev. Both epic and awe-inspiring, and producing brilliant art, nevertheless medieval Russia could be a terrifying place. Criss-crossing the epic landscape, Andrew visits the monastery founded by Ivan the Terrible, where his favourite forms of torture found inspiration in religious art. One man would shine a light into Russia's 'dark' ages - Peter the Great who, surprisingly, took as his inspiration Deptford in South London.


Part 2: Roads to Revolution



He explores how Russia changed from a feudal nation of aristocratic excess to a hotbed of revolution at the beginning of the 20th century and how art moved from being a servant of the state to an agent of its destruction. From monuments that celebrate the absolutism of the tsars to the epic Russian landscape as inspiration; from the design and construction of gold and glittering palaces to the minutiae of diamond-encrusted Faberge eggs; and eventually to the stark and radical paintings of the avant-garde, the journey through Russian art history is one of extraordinary beauty and surprise.



Part 3: Smashing the Mould



The final part examines political revolution and how art was at the forefront of throwing out 1,000 years of royal rule, from its earliest revolutionary days of enthusiasm and optimism when painting died, the poster was king and the machine-made triumphed over the handmade to the dead hand of Socialist Realism. Andrew roots out great portraits of Stalin now hidden in museum storerooms and never on public view, looks at the transformation of the Moscow metro into a great public art gallery and visits the most stunning creation of post-war Communist rule, the Space Monument. Finally, he comes to the confusion and chaos of Russia today and how it is producing some of the world's strangest art - from heroic sculptures of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to the insides of a giant erotic apple; from the recreation of the Imperial royal family facing the firing squad to sculpture in liquid oil; from Russia's embrace of the commercial art market to a return to Socialist Realism. Russia seems to stand on another brink of revolution.

The Art of Russia [BBC 3 parts]
The Art of Russia [BBC 3 parts]


Ancient Apocalypse [BBC 4 parts]

Throughout the ages, civilisations have risen up and then disappeared. Traditionally, the disappearance of certain ancient civilizations has been left to the theologians and historians to explain. Now scientists have entered the fray. In this series geologist, archaeologists and climatologists explain their findings. Ancient Apocalypse seeks to explain how human achievements were destroyed by the forces of nature.

Part 1: Death on the Nile



Professor Fekri Hassan attempts to determine why the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the civilisation of the great pyramids, collapsed around 2200 BC. Can science show that terrible forces of nature were to blame - even driving people to cannibalism? Clues come from the remote deserts of southern Egypt, the glaciers of Iceland and a dramatic and unique archaeological find in the Nile delta.


Part 2: Mystery of the Minoans



A look at how the Minoan civilisation, situated on the Mediterranean island of Crete, was wiped out 3,500 years ago by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions since the Ice Age on the nearby island of Thira. 21st century science reveals the horror the volcano unleashed.


Part 3: The Maya Collapse



In the ninth century AD, the great Maya civilisation in Central America and southern Mexico all but disappeared. Millions died and great cities were abandoned to the jungle. Why this happened was a mystery, until science started unlocking the secrets of the past to reveal the brutality of nature.


Part 4: Sodom and Gomorrah



The Bible describes how Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in a storm of fire and brimstone. Could the inspiration for this story come from a natural apocalypse around the Dead Sea in the Middle East? Science tests out the extraordinary geology of the region - could an earthquake trigger a landslide capable of sweeping away whole cities?

Ancient Apocalypse [BBC 4 parts]
Ancient Apocalypse [BBC 4 parts]

The Victorians [BBC 4 parts]

Jeremy Paxman takes his love of Victorian paintings as the starting point for a journey into Victorian Britain. Such pictures may not be fashionable today, but they are a goldmine of information about the most dynamic age in British history.


Part 1: Painting The Town



He investigates the most dramatic event of Victorian Britain: the explosion of great cities. At first the Victorians feared these new monsters in their midst, but then grew to love and transform them. Jeremy explores the canals and sewers, suburbs and back streets, workhouses and magnificent buildings of the great Victorian city, while also experiencing the fun-filled chaos of Derby Day.


Part 2: Home Sweet Home



Jeremy Paxman enters the typical Victorian home, a haven of order, respectability and morality. But not everything was always as it should be, with sexual double standards and the perils of drink, disease and poverty all threatening to destroy the cherished dream of Home Sweet Home.


Part 3: Having It All



Railways, factories and military might made Britain the richest country in the world. Paxman finds British generals dressed in togas in the Foreign Office, meets the horse that led the Charge of the Light Brigade, drives a steam train and visits a fort, a steelworks and a millionaire's mansion to tell the story of the time when Britain seemed to be having it all.


Part 4: Dreams and Nightmares



Jeremy Paxman discovers how in the dying years of Victoria's reign, artists led a revolt against Victorian values of money and morality, preferring to create a world filled with medieval knights and damsels, dreams and fairies, sex and death. He meets a pair of spiritualist mediums, visits a collection of Victorian nudes and is allowed into Broadmoor hospital in search of the mad
Victorian artist Richard Dadd.
The Victorians [BBC 4 parts]
The Victorians [BBC 4 parts]

Shoah (Holocaust) [4 parts with eng subtitles ]

Part 1




Hailed as a masterpiece by many critics, Shoah was described in the New York Times as "an epic film about the greatest evil of modern times."

Part 2




"For more than nine hours I sat and watched a film named "Shoah," and when it was over, I sat for a while longer and simply stared into space, trying to understand my emotions. I had seen a memory of the most debased chapter in human history. But I had also seen a film that affirmed life so passionately that I did not know where to turn with my confused feelings. There is no proper response to this film. It is an enormous fact, a 550-minute howl of pain and anger in the face of genocide. It is one of the noblest films ever made." - Roger Ebert


Part 3




Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.Director Claude Lanzmann spent 11 years on this sprawling documentary about the Holocaust, conducting his own interviews and refusing to use a single frame of archival footage.


Part 4




Dividing Holocaust witnesses into three categories -- survivors, bystanders and perpetrators -- Lanzmann presents testimonies from survivors of the Chelmno concentration camp, an Auschwitz escapee and witnesses of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as well as a chilling report of gas chambers from an SS officer at Treblinka.

Shoah
Shoah 

Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution



The Russian Revolution of 1917 is one of the most controversial events of the 20th century. Three men - Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin - emerged from obscurity to forge an entirely new political system. In the space of six months, they turned the largest country on earth into the first Communist state. Was this a triumph of people power or a political coup d'etat that led to blood-soaked totalitarianism? A hundred years later, the Revolution still sparks ferocious debate. This film dramatizes the 245 days that brought these men to supreme power. As the history unfolds, a stellar cast of writers and historians, including Martin Amis, Orlando Figes, Helen Rappaport, Simon Sebag-Montefiore and China Mieville, battle over the meaning of the Russian Revolution and explore how it shaped the world we live in today.
Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution
Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution