Johann Sebastian Bach has been called the father of Western music; precise and incredibly prolific, his works fill 52 volumes. He was an obstinate but nevertheless modest man and the outstanding tributes paid to his work more than a 100 years after his burial in an unmarked grave, would have probably amused him. This programme traces the development of his life and work and is copiously illustrated with examples of his music.
"OK, wish it had more..."
Arguably the most extraordinary and powerful leader of the 20th century, Chairman Mao unified 800 million people into one Communist nation, the most successful 'alternative society' ever achieved. For three minutes, on the morning of September 18, 1976, an entire nation stood to attention as a mark of respect for their dead leader. Was he loved and revered by one-third of the world's population for his personal charisma, or for his awesome power and management of massive state indoctrination?
"The absolute worst"
How did a German airship, the pride of the Third Reich, equipped as a flying five-star hotel, burst into flames before landing in New Jersey and being destroyed in less than a minute? Was it sabotage or an accident waiting to happen? This fascinating programme reconstructs the event and the subsequent investigation.
Jefferson and Franklin framed the Declaration of Independence, but it was the supreme task of George Washington to carry its glorious ideals into reality. When Congress turned to him as the leader who represented the unity of America and its devotion to the principles of liberty, Washington realized that destiny was calling. An awesome sense of purpose led him on; dedication and incorruptibility enabled him to succeed. Without Washington it is doubtful if the United States could ever have existed.
It was one of the most horrifying single acts of destruction in the First World War, and it was instrumental in bringing America into the war. Was it cold-blooded mass murder or a justifiable Act of War? This programme dramatically presents all sides of the story, as the German submarine U-20 stalks her giant prey.
A portrait in words and music of one of the world's truly great composers. A man who gained fame in a land far from his birthplace. Handel was rewarded with glory and honour in his lifetime, and his music lives on in opera house, church and concert hall. His famous Largo is generally accepted as being one of the best loved melodies in the world. This programme follows his extraordinary success in a foreign land with respect and affection.
There has never been another novelist like Dickens. In his novels and stories, loved throughout the world, he created a host of fictional immortals, reflecting their eccentricities, their wit, their violence, and their pathos. They live today as vividly as ever. This engrossing dramatisation shows how his most famous creations were derived from his own experiences and from facets of his complex, almost demonic personality.