Reference source of past TV
Britain's Best Buildings
Last of Series 2
Shown on BBC 2, Monday 29 November 2004 at 7.00pm
An extraordinary array of fantastic buildings cover Britain, from every
historical age, and of every architectural style. Dan Cruickshank examines four
well known and much loved buildings in Two Series:
Blenheim Palace and
Tower Bridge (14.12.04): conceived and built during the
1870s, 80s and 90s, Dan investigates the struggle between the artist architect and the engineer, between a concern
for history (the new bridge had to sit happily beside the ancient Tower of London) and the application of modern
Durham Cathedral (15.05.04): Dan investigates the engineering
feat of building Durham Cathedral, the thinking behind which was a century ahead of any other British building. He also
uncovers some of the cathedral's secrets and finds out more about the lives of the monks who worshipped there.
Blenheim Palace (15.05.04 & 16.08.03): Intended as a
celebration of victory in the battle of Blenheim, this building became a battleground for the architect Vanbrugh
and the formidable Duchess of Marlborough.
(First shown on BBC 4 in 2004) -
Forth Bridge and
Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster: (25.10.04 at 7.00pm) Dan visits the Palace of
Westminster, a modern building born out of extreme crisis and the highest idealism of the 19th century. Pushing both
engineering and decoration to extremes, Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin set out
to marry the practical demands of government with the mystique of an unwritten
constitution founded on precedent, antiquity and the monarchy.
Harlech Castle: (1.11.04 at 7.00pm) Dan visits Harlech Castle in North Wales,
the focus of the most bitter conflict between the English and Welsh as Edward Longshanks, king of England,
pitted his wits against Llewellyn ap Gruffyd, Prince of Wales.
Hardwick Hall: (8.11.04 at 7.00pm) Dan visits Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, one of the
most mysterious country houses in Britain. Its great honey-coloured walls hold the secret to one
of this country's golden ages and even a plot to seize the throne of England.
The Circus: (15.11.04 at 7.00pm) Bath is renowned for its elegant 18th-century streets
and classical refinement, but behind the façade lies an older story of necromancy, pagan ritual and even human
sacrifice. Unravelling the birth of Bath, Dan Cruickshank tells the fascinating story of the city's mystical birth,
beginning at its centre, with the curious Circus - a perfect circle of palatial terraced houses covered in strange
symbols and ornament - a druid Princess of Wales; then to the Romans, Stonehenge, and an ancient leprous king.
Forth Bridge: (29.11.04 at 7.00pm) Dan visits the Forth Bridge, the greatest symbol of
the Victorian railway age. Designed by Benjamin Baker and John Fowler, the great cantilever bridge was completed in
1890 and spans over 8,000 feet.
Visit BBC History and
the Britain's Best Buildings
website for further information
Britain's Lost Roman Wonder
Shown on BBC 2, Tuesday 1 April 2003 at 9.00pm
Thurley, of English Heritage, unravelled the mystery of an enormous
platform in a ruined Roman villa at Richborough, Kent. Evidence was
examined to support the favoured theory that it formed the base of
a magnificent monument at the place where the Romans landed in 43 AD.
Visit the BBC History for
more information on the
Britain's Real Monarch
Shown on channel 4, Saturday 20 November at 8.00pm
Britain's Real Monarch
Tony Robinson follows up his findings from his investigations into the life of Richard III,
revealing the royal line was tainted by the illegitimacy of Edward IV. In short, did any following monarchs
have any rightful claim to the throne? And, if not, who should have followed the succession? His detective
story takes him to the Tower via Scotland.
Visit Richard III for more information
Cahokia - America's Lost Metropolis
Shown on BBC 2, Wednesday 12 July, 2000 at 9.30pm
The programme explored the remains
of a 1000-year-old city, named Cahokia, which now lies partly under
the streets of St Louis, Missouri in Mid Western USA
Evidence of a
medieval city bigger than London under Henry I,
with plazas and ritual mounds to rival those of
the Aztecs, is dotted all over St Louis. This
fascinating documentary travels around the modern
American city, visiting archaeological sites that
gradually reveal the lost city of Cahokia. The
film, another ably presented by Dr Tony
Spawforth, even goes so far as to find links
between the forgotten culture and modern-day
Choctaw Indian practices. The archaeology is
gripping, showing beautiful artefacts and even
unearthing two woodehenges, while the speculation
is entertaining. It tends to present a vision of
paradise lost, glossing over human sacrifice, but
it is rounded enough to examine why Cahokia was
abandoned a century before Columbus arrived.
Did you see the programme? Would you like to know
Visit the Cahokia
Mounds, official web site, USA
Would you like the
chance to visit Cahokia?
"Register your interest"
(Arrangements would be made in association
occasional series which followed an experimental
community founded on a remote Scottish island
during the year 2000.
A six-part series
Last part shown on Channel 4, Thursday 19 June 2003 at 8.00pm
|A series in which medieval historian Marc Morris
travelled the length of Britain to tell the dramatic story of the country's
The series began with a look at how this most British of
buildings was in fact a foreign invention, and all down to one man -
William the Conqueror. The Norman Conquest saw thousands of "motte and
bailey" earth and timber castles built in England. But where did the idea
of the castle come from, and why were "motte and bailey" castles the
dominant type in the 11th century? Using the Bayeux tapestry and
archaeological evidence, Marc Morris tells the history of the classic
medieval castle over a 600-year period.
Visit the Channel 4
Castle website for further information
Cave Mummies of the Canaries
on Channel 4, Saturday 22 July, 2000 at 7.00pm
|Could there be a connection between
mummies found in the Canaries and the ancient
Egyptians? When Spanish adventurers first set
foot in the Canary Islands in the mid-14th
century they were shocked to discover the
Guanches - a cave dwelling, goat herding people
who mummified their dead. Cave
Mummies Of The Canaries joins
Egyptologist Dr JOANN FLETCHER and archaeologist
MIKE EDDY in a transcontinental expedition as
they make some major discoveries linking the
Guanches with the ancient peoples of Africa and
with articles on the mystery of the Guanches
Shown on Channel 4, Monday 15 January 2001 at
- the last and greatest Queen of Egypt. The
dramatic story of her love affairs with Julius
Caesar and Mark Anthony, and of her death by
suicide is legendary.
Yet despite being among the most powerful and
beautiful women in history she remains an enigma.
Precious little archaeological evidence of her
existence - her palaces, temples, and her immense
wealth, have ever been found. Until now.
Repeat of Series
Michael Wood blends history and adventure as he charts the history of the Spanish conquest of the New
BBC 2, Monday 23 July 2001 at 7.10pm
Fall Of The Aztecs: The story of
Cortes and the Aztec empire.
2, Monday 30 July 2001 at 7.10pm
Conquest Of The Incas: A look at the
overthrow of the Inca Empire.
2, Monday 6 August 2001 at 7.10pm
El Dorado: The
story of the ill fated Spanish expedition in 1541
to find mythical El Dorado.
2, Monday 20 August 2001 at 7.10pm
The World Is Human: Michael Wood
followed the route of the first European crossing
of North America. It ended 8 years later when
only a handful of survivors arrived back in
Visit the Conquistadors and
the BBC History websites
for additional information
Egypt's Golden Empire
A three-part Series
shown on BBC 2, November 2001
with a repeat showing in May 2003
amazingly preserved letters and golden treasures
tell the story of Egypt's Golden Empire. The
three-part series investigated Egypt's New
Kingdom, the era of Ramesses, Tutankhamun and
the Egypt's Golden Empire site for
View the Timeline and competition winners
Empires of Stone
A three-part Series
Channel 4, Monday 11 June 2001 at 8.00pm
The Coliseum: preserved the power of
Rome and satisfied the vanity of its Emperors for
four hundred years. It was a place where the
greatest sport spectaculars of the day were
played out to a crowd of 70,000 baying Romans and
venue to the bloodiest games ever created.
Channel 4, Monday 18 June 2001 at 8.00pm
The Great Wall: stretching from Korea to
the Gobi desert, the Great Wall of China helped
create one of the world's most powerful nations
and remains its most defining monument. With a
thrilling combination of special effects,
dramatic reconstructions and 3-D animation, this
programme reveals the full glory of the biggest
building project ever.
Channel 4, Monday 25 June 2001 at 8.00pm
The Acropolis: this film steps back in
time to the Golden Age of Greece, to the birth of
democracy and an era of unparalleled human
creativity that produced the Acropolis.
Powerfully evoking the pagan rituals that made it
the heart of Athenian life, the film explores all
four key buildings of the Acropolis: the
Propylaia, the Erectheion, Athena Nike and the
Parthenon - the most influential building in
An eight-part series
(from the producers of
Death in Slaughter Stream (8)
Shown on Channel 4, Sunday 8 August at 8.00pm
Taking archaeology to the edge
Sundays at 8pm, from 20 June 2004
This new Channel 4 series took archaeology to the edge during the summer of 2004. Filmed in 2003, a
team of experts tackled sites across the country that are beyond the reach of normal investigations.
In Extreme Archaeology,
a team of archaeologists with help from top climbers, cavers and divers investigated amazing and
unique archaeological sites throughout the UK.
Bridge on the River
Wye, Chepstow (20 June)
Living on the
edge, Kame of Isbister (27 June)
Culzean Castle (4 July)
Anglesey (11 July)
connection, Cornwall (18 July)
Bay of bones,
Pembrokeshire (25 July)
Death in Slaughter
Stream, Forest of Dean (8 August)
Visit the special
Extreme Archaeology website
for complete series information
Also visit the Time Team website
for initial information about the series
Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age
A three-part Series by
Graham Hancock, the controversial
best-selling author and journalist
Shown on Channel 4, Monday 25 February 2002 at
|Graham Hancock believes the earliest
evidence for the origin of civilisation does not
lie on land, but exists under the sea in areas
flooded by the end of the last Ice Age. With the
assistance of experts and state-of-the-art
technology, he sets out to prove his theory.
and the Atlantic (11.02.02)
China and Japan seas (25.02.02)
Read the Transcript of Graham
Hancock's Chat after the
Visit Channel 4s Talk area Chat Diary for the celebrity
also Graham Hancock's previous series: Quest for the
"The late Fred Dibnah"
A special Tribute programme was shown on BBC2, Saturday 4 December at 7.40pm
A repeat will be shown on BBC 2 Saturday 1 January 2005 at 10.15am
The celebrated steeplejack visits Britain's
engineering landmarks old and new.
Repeat of Industrial Age
Dig with Dibnah programme,
Building of Britain and
Age of Steam series
History and the
Fred Dibnah website
Forts and Castles (11.07.04 at 7.30pm)
This programme focuses on the development of the fortress, featuring examples in Warwick, Edinburgh and
Conwy. At Hadrian's Wall Fred marvels at the design of Roman toilets, and he's joined by a band of knights
in armour to test a castle's defences.
Houses and Palaces (15.07.04 at 7.30pm)
This programme celebrates the grandeur of Hampton Court Palace and visits Cragside, one of the first homes
to have electric lighting. He also examines restoration work on a 15th-century manor house.
Places of Worship (28.07.04 at 7.30pm)
This programme focuses on places of worship, taking in Preston, County Durham, St Paul's Cathedral and York
Places of Work (4.08.04 at 7.30pm)
This programme looks at places of work, taking in the dockyards at Chatham, an early example of fireproofing at
Armley Mill in Leeds, a tithe barn in Sussex and the Lloyd's building in London.
Bridges and Tunnels (11.08.04 at 7.30pm)
In this programme, Fred steers a barge across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales and examines the construction
of the Humber Bridge.
Pleasure Palaces (25.08.04 at 7.30pm)
In this programme, Fred focuses on structures that have been built for arts, leisure and entertainment purposes,
from Roman baths to Blackpool's impressive rollercoasters. They
include the Globe Theatre, the Victoria and
Albert Museum and Blackpool Tower.
Return to Fred Dibnah
Iron, Steel and Mining (18.07.04 at 7.00pm)
Steeplejack Fred Dibnah goes on a nostalgic tour of Britain's industrial age, starting his journey at
Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, then stopping off in the Black Country to see how the ill-fated anchor on the
Titanic was made. Finally, he explores the tin, slate and coal mines of Cornwall and Yorkshire and gets to
drive a huge steamrolling mill engine.
Return to Fred Dibnah
Dig with Dibnah
Originally shown complete
Repeat in two parts
Shown on BBC 2 Thursday's 1 April & 8 April 2004 at 8.00pm
Fred Dibnah's passion for Britain's
industrial past continues apace as he sets about digging a
100-foot deep mineshaft in his back garden. In part one Fred
starts the dig. In part two now down to about 25 feet, he
reveals his grand plan for a winding engine house, an inclined
plane railway and a tunnel from the bottom of the shaft. It's
time to visit some real working mines to pick up some tips!
Return to Fred Dibnah
Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam
A six-part Series
Last part shown Tuesday 19 August 2003 on BBC 2 at 8.00pm
Repeat showing January - February 2004
Dibnah traces the development of steam power from the earliest
experiments in the ancient world to the modern nuclear power station in
this six-part series.
The Early Pioneers (15.07.03): (5.1.04) A
visit to Cornwall illuminates the early history of the steam engine in
Britain, which was developed to pump water from the tin mines.
The Transport Revolution (22.07.03): (12.1.04) He
tells the story of the revolution in transport brought about by steam
power, from the earliest colliery railways to the end of steam
operation on Britain's rail network in the 1960s.
Driving the Wheels of Industry
(29.07.03): (19.1.04) A look at the extraordinary expansion of industrial
Britain in the 18th century, and at the continued use of huge
stationary steam engines in mills, collieries and steel works until
the 20th century.
Steaming down the Road
(5.08.03): (26.1.04) He looks at early experiments in the use of steam for road
transport, and at the development of the traction engine for use in
agriculture and road haulage.
Steam on the Water
(12.08.03): (2.2.04) A look at how steam revolutionised shipping, from the earliest
paddle steamers with screw propellers to more modern vessels like the
Royal Yacht Britannia.
Steam in the Modern Age
(19.08.03): (16.2.04) A look at the major advances made with the invention of the
steam turbine, still used today to generate electricity in coal-fired and nuclear
power stations. Plus a look at how Britain's steam heritage is preserved
by museums and societies.
Return to Fred Dibnah
Dibnah's Building of Britain
A six-part Series
Building of Britain
Last part shown on BBC 2, Monday 18 March 2002 at 8.30pm
A repeat of the series started in 2002
& continued in 2003
A further series repeat in 2004
Fred Dibnah, turned investigator to
explore the genius behind some of the country's
greatest monuments. Week by week, Fred was
followed on his journey to get the low-down on an
Mighty Cathedrals: (10.05.04) Fred takes a look at the 11th Century
building programme undertaken by the Normans that resulted in the mighty fortress cathedrals of Ely and
The Art of Castle Building: (17.05.04) Fred investigates the construction
of the great chain of castles on the coast of North Wales, revealing the building techniques and revolutionary
defensive features that helped Edward I subdue the rebellious Welsh.
The Age of the Carpenter: (29.05.04) In his exploration of the engineering
skills that went into the building of Britain, Fred Dibnah looks at how carpenters have used their talents to
transform buildings such as Stokesey Castle, Little Moreton Hall and Harvington Hall.
Return to Fred Dibnah
Fred Dibnah's Victorian Heroes
Part of a BBC Victorian Week
One of three documentaries examining different aspects of Victorian life.
Shown on BBC2 Tuesday 2 January, 2001 at 9.05 pm
Golden Age of Engineering" is
celebrated by Fred Dibnah. These are the stories
of the three greatest Victorian engineers:
railway builder Robert Stephenson, ship and
bridge designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and
armaments industry founder William Armstrong. On
a round Britain trip, Dibnah admires achievements
including the Clifton suspension bridge and the
Box Hill tunnel, and reveals engineering secrets
in his own workshop.