Young Archaeologists' Club
Central Southern England Branch


Reference source of past TV programmes

Britain's Best Buildings
Series 1 and Series 2
Last of Series 2
Forth Bridge
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:

Series 1: Durham Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace and Tower Bridge

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 building technology.
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.

Series 2: (First shown on BBC 4 in 2004) - Hardwick Hall, The Circus, 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

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Britain's Lost Roman Wonder
Shown on BBC 2, Tuesday 1 April 2003 at 9.00pm

Simon 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 Romans

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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

 More Information? Go to the Channel 4 historyheads & Footnotes series
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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 more?
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 with Wolverine International)

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Castaway 2000

The occasional series which followed an experimental community founded on a remote Scottish island during the year 2000.
Castaway 2000
For all information, News and Views
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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 castles.

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

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Cave Mummies of the Canaries
Shown 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 Egypt.

Site with articles on the mystery of the Guanches

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Cleopatra's Palace
Shown on Channel 4, Monday 15 January 2001 at 9.00pm

Cleopatra - 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.
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Repeat of Series

Michael Wood blends history and adventure as he charts the history of the Spanish conquest of the New World.

BBC 2, Monday 23 July 2001 at 7.10pm
The Fall Of The Aztecs: The story of Cortes and the Aztec empire.

BBC 2, Monday 30 July 2001 at 7.10pm
The Conquest Of The Incas: A look at the overthrow of the Inca Empire.

BBC 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.

BBC 2, Monday 20 August 2001 at 7.10pm
All 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 Mexico.

Visit the Conquistadors and the BBC History websites for additional information

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Egypt's Golden Empire
A three-part Series

First shown on BBC 2, November 2001
with a repeat showing in May 2003

Spectacular temples, 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 Nefertiti.

Visit the Egypt's Golden Empire site for additional information
View the
Timeline and competition winners

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Empires of Stone
A three-part Series

Channel 4, Monday 11 June 2001 at 8.00pm (Repeat 15.02.2002)
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 (Repeat 22.02.2002)
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 (Repeat 1.03.2002)
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 Western civilisation.

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Extreme Archaeology
An eight-part series
(from the producers of Time Team)
Death in Slaughter Stream (8)
Shown on Channel 4, Sunday 8 August at 8.00pm

Extreme Archaeology

Extreme Archaeology on Time Team website

Extreme Archaeology
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)
Cannibals and cavemen, Culzean Castle (4 July)
Parys underground, Anglesey (11 July)
The Tintagel connection, Cornwall (18 July)
Bay of bones, Pembrokeshire (25 July)
Shetland Fortress (1 August)
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

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Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age
A three-part Series by
Graham Hancock, the controversial best-selling author and journalist
Last part
Shown on Channel 4, Monday 25 February 2002 at 9.00pm

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.

Mediterranean and the Atlantic (11.02.02)
Indian (18.02.02)
China and Japan seas (25.02.02)

Read the Transcript of Graham Hancock's Chat after the programme
Visit Channel 4’s
Talk area Chat Diary for the celebrity zone!

See also Graham Hancock's previous series: Quest for the Lost Civilisation

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"Fred Dibnah"

"The late Fred Dibnah"
BBC News Tribute

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 series September/October 2002,
Repeat of
Magnificent Monuments in November/December 2002

Also the Dig with Dibnah programme, Building of Britain and Age of Steam series

Visit BBC History and the Fred Dibnah website

Magnificent Monuments
(programme repeats)

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 Minster.
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

Industrial Age
(programme repeats)

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

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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 DibnahFred 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

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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

Fred DibnahFred 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

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Fred 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 DibnahFred 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 architectural style.

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 Peterborough.
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

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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 (Repeat18.10.2001)

"The 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.

Return to Fred Dibnah

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