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Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity

Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity logoElectricity – more often in the news for rising prices than how it sustains our way of life. Shock & Awe: The Story of Electricity, an Open University and BBC partnership, will tell the story of our quest to master this mysterious force. Presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili will reveal how electricity not only powers our lives, but underpins every aspect of technological advancement. He will discuss how a diverse collection of people - some establishment traditionalists, some maverick outsiders, and some in-between - learned to create, store and move electricity, not only for heating and lighting, but also to convey information over vast distances. It allowed almost instantaneous communication across the seas and through the air, to connect people across the world in ways unimagined befor...

Songwriters' Circle

Songwriters' Circle logoAcoustic concert series.

Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies

Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies logoIn a series celebrating the art of the cinema soundtrack, Neil Brand explores the work of the great movie composers and demonstrates their techniques. Neil begins by looking at how the classic orchestral film score emerged and why it's still going strong today. He traces how, in the 1930s, European-born composers such as Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold brought their Viennese training to play in stirring, romantic scores for Hollywood masterpieces like King Kong and The Adventures of Robin Hood. But it took a home-grown American talent, Bernard Herrmann, to bring a darker, more modern sound to some of cinema's finest films with his scores for Citizen Kane, Psycho and Taxi Driver. Among those Neil meets are leading film-makers and composers who discuss their work, including Martin ...

Sounds of the 80s

Sounds of the 80s logoThis is an 8 episode series first broadcast in 1995. In similar style to "Sounds of the Sixties" and "Sounds of the Seventies", archive performances are linked by humorous clips from tv shows of the time.

South Africa Walks

South Africa Walks logoHaving tackled treks across the UK, Julia Bradbury embarks on a grand adventure in South Africa. As the world prepares to focus its attention on the World Cup host nation, Julia sets out on four very different walks that explore South Africa's claim to be 'a world in one country'.


Storyville logoSeries showcasing the best in international documentaries on BBC Four. Storyville has developed an enviable reputation since its inception more than a decade ago. Screening over 340 films, from some 70 different countries, the strand has garnered a staggering array of awards: five Oscars, 15 Griersons, three Peabodys and two International Emmys. In true, unique, Storyville style, the new series promises to deliver the strand's usual eclectic mix of compelling stories from across the globe.

Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures

Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures logoProfessor Richard Fortey travels across the globe to find the survivors of mass extinction events


Symphony logoSimon Russell Beale presents a radical reappraisal of the place of the symphony in the modern world and explores the surprising way in which it has shaped our history and identity

Synth Britannia

Synth Britannia logoDocumentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage. In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Volatire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain. The crossover moment came in 1979 when Gary Numan's appearance on Top of the Pops with Tubeway Army's Are Friends Electric heralded the arrival of synthpop. Four lads from Basildon known as Depeche Mode would come to own the new sound whilst post-punk bands like Ultravox, Soft Cell, OMD and Yazoo took the synth out of the pages of the NME and onto the front page of Smash Hits. By 1983, acts like Pet S...

Syrian School

Syrian School logoe-part series following a year in the life of four schools in Damascus, a high pressure crossroads in the Middle East.
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