Queen of France by her marriage to Henry II, Catherine dominated Europe's dying Renaissance, manipulating France by her goading of an hysterical and half-demented king. It was a colourful and blood-soaked time that is excitingly brought to life in this biography.
It was the most controversial naval battle of the 20th century. Statistically, both sides lost; but the British Fleet was readied for action again within 24 hours and dominated the seas for the rest of the First World War. This programme recreates the whole dramatic conflict.
"A poor copy of a very good original recording."
There have been many invasion threats to Britain. This programme dramatises one of the most potent: the mighty Armada sent by Philip of Spain against the navy of Elizabeth I and her sea captains, led by Sir Francis Drake. This is a crucial narrative of stirring history, relived with verve and freshness.
"history as entertainment"
"An artist should not be troubled by the indifference of his contemporaries. He should go on working and say all that he is predestined to say. He should know that posterity alone can deliver a true and just verdict." So said Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and posterity has delivered its verdict. His music is glorious, uplifting, soulful, humourous and wonderfully melodic. Thchaikovsky regarded music as something to be savoured and shared, and he worked hard and long to that end.
France was in a state of chaos. Her Royal Family and most of her nobility had been swept away during her bloody revolution and terror stalked the land. The country was bankrupt, her armies a rabble of ill-fed, half-naked men. And then, within a few brief years, these same armies were sweeping across Europe in an all-conquering flood. As if by a miracle, a man had arisen who restored France to her former greatness, and more.
The man responsible for the near religion of "Darwinism" and the theory of evolution was a quiet, patient, and gentle man, suffering for most of his life from chronic ill-health. He rarely attended banquets given in his honor or even meetings of the Royal Society to which he was elected a Fellow before his 30th birthday. His most famous book, The Origin of Species, is considered to be the most important book of the 18th century and had an overwhelming reception.
The Japanese advance in the Pacific was stemmed and turned in the Midway Sea. It was one of the decisive actions of the Second World War, and a story of extreme drama and heroism. It demonstrated once and for all the superiority of air power over naval might.
Francis Drake he was more than a mere buccaneer. He was also an explorer, the first captain to circumnavigate the globe - which resulted in the establishment of the British Empire in the Orient. But it was for his part in defeating Spain's "invincible" Armada that Drake assured his place in English history.
Columbus did not discover America. That honour goes to Norseman Bjarni Herjolfsson whose storm-driven Viking longship took him briefly to the mainland of North America. Yet it was five centuries before Europeans arrived once more on the American coast. Columbus happened to be the first.
Shakespeare lived for only 52 years, yet enriched the English language with an astonishing number of literary masterpieces. This dramatisation tells the story of Shakespeare's life in the boisterous days of the ageing Queen Elizabeth and the early years of her successor, James the First. It covers most of the known facts of his life and presents the man as well as the poet and dramatist.