Sunday, June 21, 2009

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dispatches: Undercover in Tibet

A timely report on life in Tibet under Chinese occupation as Tash Despa returns to his homeland after eleven years in exile, accompanied by award-winning director Jezza Neumann. For three months the pair risked imprisonment and deportation as they tried to uncover the true extent of the so-called 'cultural genocide' described by the Dalai Lama. Their film reveals that the nomadic existence of native Tibetans is being eradicated and that freedom of expression is increasingly tightly policed.



The Human Spider

Perhaps the most daring climber in the world is profiled in this
documentary as Alain Robert, dubbed the Human Spider, scales some
of the world's tallest buildings using no ropes or safety
equipment. Dramatic footage of his recent attempt to climb
Portland House in London is interspersed with film of his other
escapades in Shanghai, Berlin and Moscow. Amazingly, as Robert
discusses, he undertakes these feats of daring despite suffering
from epilepsy.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Celts

The Celts were the first masters of Europe. Their leaders were men and women of legend: Arthur of the Britons, the warrior queen Boudica and Vercingetorix the Gaul. They had powerful priests called Druids who memorised the secret knowledge of generations.

But it all ended in tragedy. This vibrant culture was wiped out of Europe and the Celts were driven to the Atlantic fringes by the legions of Rome. They became the eternal victims, the romantic underdogs of history. Yet, 2,000 years later, their impact still casts its spell today. But how much is myth and how much is true?

This investigates what ‘Celtic’ actually means, from the first time the term was used in the 7th century BC to the ‘Celtic Christianity’ of the early Middle Ages. There are also insights into various aspects of ‘Celtic’ life and language taken from interviews with a number of historians.


Genius - Pythagoras

The word Genius perfectly describes Pythagoras; at times his ideas and theories were so radical, they were considered dangerous or subversive by the rulers of their day.

Set against the backdrop of Ancient Greece, this film tells the story of a true genius. Immortalised in the popular imagination by a single mathematical theorem, Pythagoras' place in history was assured.

The story of Pythagoras is one of innovation, change, determination and sheer genius. As an accurate picture of his life emerges, it is clear that there was more to this great man than one single, simple truth - here was a great mathematician, philosopher and political leader.


Infamous Assassinations - Robert Kennedy: Los Angeles 1968

Compelling documentary about the death of Robert Kennedy, shot and fatally wounded hours after winning the Californian Democratic Primary election. The assassin was a twenty-four-year-old Palestinian immigrant, called Sirhan Sirhan, who fired 5 shots before he was seized. However, Kennedy had many enemies and more than one assassin may have been involved.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Age of Terror-Ten Days of Terror

In his ambitious chronicle of the Age of Terror, award-winning journalist Peter Taylor explores the
dramatic events of ten days in 1987. A boat called The Eksund carrying a massive cargo of Libyan arms
bound for Ireland was intercepted in French waters. Under questioning, the skipper revealed vital
information about the IRA's secret arsenal which rocked the British government. In the same week,
the IRA was preparing to bomb a Remembrance Day service in the border town of Enniskillen.
This attack was to shake the IRA to its core. These two extraordinary events led to a transformation
of the political landscape in Northern Ireland.


Inside the Medieval Mind-Sex

Professor Robin Bartlett unearths remarkable evidence of the complex
passions of men and women in the Middle Ages as his series exploring
the medieval psyche continues. Investigating the private lives of these
people, he shows how this extraordinary period shaped them.

In a time when the Church preached hatred of the flesh and promoted the
cult of virginity, Professor Bartlett quotes some of the questions the
11th-century Church recommended priests to ask their parishioners, such
as: "Have you committed fornication with your step-mother, your
sister-in-law, your son's fiancée or your mother?"

Despite the rigid doctrine of the Church at this time, it was the
medieval world that gave birth to the modern concept of romantic love.
Twelfth-century troubadours began to sing songs of love to women in
which they were suddenly goddesses to be adored. For the upper classes
at least, the rules of love were reinvented in lengthy treatises, the
heroes and heroines of love celebrated in poems: Lancelot and
Guinevere, and Tristan and Iseult.

Professor Bartlett also delves into the tragic story of real-life
lovers Abelard and Heloise – Abelard the great scholar, Heloise the
niece of a canon at the cathedral of Notre Dame. Their love letters
from the 12th century are astonishing in their frankness, passion and
willingness to break conventions.

Sex investigates the private lives of medieval men and women, looking
at the theories of sexual difference, the realities of male/female
relationships and courtly romance, and the attitudes of the Church and
wider society to marriage, sex and sexual practice, homosexuality,
virginity and the celibate vocation.


BBC-Secret Wilderness Japan

Steve Backshall discovers Japan's wilderness, from majestic cranes dancing in subzero temperatures in the North to giant salamanders hanging out near the rice paddies in the South. Along the way, Steve boils an egg by volcano, shares his hot spring with a flock of swans and meets some feisty Macaque monkeys on the beach



Sunday, June 7, 2009

On That Day-Haditha Massacre

On That Day is an investigative documentary on the Haditha Massacre, one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq war in which one US Marine and 24 Iraqi civilians died. Using exclusive interviews with the two Iraqis responsible for exposing the massacre to Time magazine, coupled with testimonies from the three main Marines involved, the film weaves together the shocking and tragic events of November 19 2005.


Unreported World - Gaza

As terrorists strike deep in the heart of Israel and schoolchildren are buried in Gaza, reporter Sam Kiley and director Edward Watts travel across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank to discover whether Hamas's strategy is working despite Israeli assaults, a siege on Gaza, international isolation, and virtual civil war. Are the Islamists succeeding in their aim to be a credible government and lead the Palestinian national cause?



Heroes & Villians - Richard The Lionheart

Drama-documentary about Richard the Lionheart. Was he the heroic warrior of Robin Hood? Or was he just a greedy thug who wanted to loot the Holy Land? Revisionist history suggests that Richard was neither- an extremist Christian, he struggled to lead a fractious international coalition against an impenetrable Muslim stronghold. Saladin used scorched earth tactics which slowly spread dissension through the Crusaders' ranks. Gradually, Richard's coalition fell apart and he returned a failure.


Sacred Music - Palestrina and The Popes

Palestrina and The Popes. Episode 2.
Four-part documentary series in which actor and former chorister Simon Russell Beale explores the flowering of Western sacred music. He uncovers the links between the papal intrigues of Renaissance Rome and the music of the enigmatic Palestrina, whose work is considered by many to be unsurpassed in its spiritual perfection. The art and architecture of the Italian High Renaissance is accompanied by a performance from the award-winning choir The Sixteen, conducted by founder Harry Christophers.


Heroes and Villains - The Shogun

Drama-documentary about the Samurai general Tokugawa Ieyasu, a towering figure of Japanese history. He overthrew the governing dynasty of Japan and became the Shogun - the supreme military leader - of Japan. Ieyasu's rise to power climaxes in the biggest Samurai battle in history, with 160,000 soldiers fighting for the future of Japan. On the way, there is a story of love for a reckless son, a politician in drag, a night time Ninja attack, suicide and betrayal.


Inside A Gunshot Victim

Examining the impact a gunshot would have on a person and how
the body reacts to such an accident. Presented by Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Kwame Kwei-Armah delves deep inside the human body to reveal what happens when a person survives a shooting. Using computer-generated imagery, X-rays and endoscope photography to create a 3-D environment, the documentary will show what impact a bullet has on the body's tissue, muscle and organs from the moment it tears through the skin.


BBC Horizon - How Does Your Memory Work?

Science series. How does the human memory work? The stories of
John and Genevieve are helping scientists to understand.
John's memory was damaged at birth. Although he is
intelligent, he can't catch a bus or cook a meal because he
forgets what he is doing. Genevieve's problem is the opposite
- she wants to forget. She is haunted by a sexual assault and
suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. A pioneering
technique could erase her memory with a pill.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Channel 4 - The Michelangelo Code

Arguably the world's most famous work of art, millions of people visit it every year. Until now however nobody has been able to explain exactly what the Sistine Chapel's ceiling is actually trying to tell us. Though important and timely the film (airing as it does to celebrate the 500th birthday of the work) it is also the product of the detective work and obsessive scholarship by art critic Waldemar Januszczak which spans the last 30 years. During this time he has been trying to unlock the secrets of Sistine Chapel's complex pictorial codes and sumptuous iconography.



BBC Timewatch - The Black Pharaohs

Dr Vivian Davies claims that a recently discovered set of hieroglyphs proves that, in 800 BC, Egypt was under the rule of black Pharaohs from neighbouring Nubia. This film examines the impact of these sensational discoveries.

Historians have long known about Kush, but relegated its importance to a vassal state of Egypt, significant only for its gold reserves. Early excavations in the Kush capital at Kerma suffered from the innate racism of the archaeologists. Fabulous grave goods, discovered in the 20th century, were thought to have belonged to Kush’s Egyptian overlords. They didn’t consider that a black African culture could have challenged Egypt’s supremacy.

The inscription exposed the truth. Although it won battles, Kush eventually lost the war, and for the next 1000 years, Egypt had the upper hand. But the inscription served as a warning prophecy to Egypt that it might pay a high price. The enslaved Kushites would have their revenge. Allowed, and even encouraged, to rebuild their own kingdom along the lines of Egypt, in 747 BC, Kush attacked the Pharaoh’s power in a daring land grab.

The Kushite king, Piye, overthrew the yoke, conquered mighty Egypt and established a 100-year rule of black Pharaohs. Even after being ousted from the Egyptian throne, Kushite kings continued to rule an empire as mighty as any, until the arrival of Alexander the Great. For a number of years, British Museum archaeologists have been making find after find in the Upper Nile Valley to substantiate this story - huge lost pyramids, burial chambers of 200 workers, and stores of gold.


BBC Natural World - Badgers Secrets of the Sett

Narrated by David Attenborough

Deep in a picturesque Devon valley lives the best loved wild animal in Britain. Yet while the badger is easily recognised, remarkably few people have ever seen one alive. For a creature never far from controversy and blamed for all manner of destruction and disease, surprisingly little is known about the badger's private family life.

Using the latest research and hidden cameras this film exposes the secrets of life in the sett. These are badgers as never seen before.


Discovery Channel:Man Made Marvels: HII-A Space Rocket

The Japanese space industry is about to reach another milestone. From its base on Tanegashima Island, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is counting down to the latest launch of the HII-A - JAXA's engineering marvel. Though this isn't its first launch, every launch might be stymied by a myriad of possible problems, and sometimes the consequences are heart-breaking, expensive or even deadly. This time, as the HII-A attempts to carry its heaviest payload to date into space and join the big league of commercial satellite launchers, the stakes are as high as they've ever been for Japan's space program.



BBC Horizon - Prof Regan's Supermarket Secrets

Friendly bacteria, superfoods, cholesterol busting spreads, 99% germ free, whiter than's almost impossible to find a product in the supermarket today that doesn't come with impressive claims...scientific claims...with an inflated price tag to match. Are they oversold? Or are they worth the extra cash?

Prof Lesley Regan has already exploded some of the myths behind beauty products in a previous Horizon. Now she's back, to see if the evidence behind these supermarket products stands up to her levels of scrutiny.

From organic farm produce to the billion dollar brands of the UK's major manufacturers Prof Regan asks tough questions and gets surprising answers. And there's no sitting on the fence: a product is either 'in' or 'out' of her scientifically backed supermarket trolley.


BBC Natural World - Spacechimp

January 31, 1961: a Mercury rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral. The astronaut on board is a three-year-old chimpanzee named Ham. The young chimp is shot into the stratosphere before splashing back down in the Atlantic Ocean. He is thus the first 'earthling' to come back alive from space.

This drama tells the famous chimp's remarkable story, based on reconstructions of events surrounding the mission and footage shot by NASA at the time.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

National Geographic Naked Science - What is Human

The story of human evolution traces the development of our species from our earliest ancestors through their mastery of tools and their environment. Through five million years, the essence of what it means to be human is analyzed.


PBS - Helen of Troy

Acclaimed presenter of historic documentaries, Bettany Hughes, embarks on a journey across the eastern Mediterranean to discover the truth about Helen of Troy, the woman blamed for causing the Trojan War. Following weapons experts, the two-hour film shows how the conflict in Helen's name would have been fought, unraveling the reality from the myths and putting flesh on "the face that launched a thousand ships."


BBC-Stranded! The Andes Plane Crash Survivors

If you've seen the 1992 film Alive, you'll know the story of the 1972 Andes flight disaster. But no movie could match this thrilling, profound documentary, in which the survivors tell their own tale.The survivors of this famous plane crash relive their experiences 30 years later.

In 1972, a student rugby team boarded a small plane in Montevideo to fly to Chile, but a storm brought their plane down in the high Andes, leaving the survivors stranded on a remote glacier. Ill-equipped, with no food and little hope of rescue, the survivors faced extreme hardship and many life or death situations, including the agonising decision to eat the flesh of those killed in the crash.These men have turned the extreme emotion of their ordeal into a kind of poetry. They discuss the "new society" they formed as they huddled for two months in a smashed fuselage on a snowy mountain, and liken their most famous hardship - eating their dead to avoid starvation - to holy communion. Amid the accounts of heroic resolve are uniquely wise, overwhelmingly touching ruminations on death and loss.



BBC-The Life and Times of El Nino

Once thought of as a problem restricted to Peru, El Niño is now recognised as a globally destructive phenomenon. It affects the oceans and weather from Europe to Antarctica.


National Geographic Naked Science - Angry Skies

They reshape landscapes, destroy buildings, and wreck lives. In a single day, a tornado or hurricane can cause billions of dollars in damage, kill dozens and injure hundreds. What is the fastest gust of wind a human can withstand? Can anything be done to reduce the damage these storms cause? Which is the biggest killer? Meet the people who risk their lives to document these storms, join the scientists at the frontlines, and see the latest weapons in the battle against these Angry Skies.


Panorama - Cocaine- Alex James in Colombia

With an estimated 800,000 users, Britain is a busy market for the cocaine trade. Which may be why Colombia's president Alvaro Uribe invited Alex James, the former Blur bassist (who has admitted to blowing £1 million on cocaine and booze) to visit his country and witness the effects of the drugs trade there for himself. The resulting film hangs together loosely: James, now reformed, seems a sweet man, but he's not a born reporter. Nonetheless, it's a heartfelt piece of work with some vivid moments, including the "mule" James meets who admits the only thing that would stop him trafficking is "a healthy sentence or a bullet", and an eye-opening sequence at a jungle lab where the drug is processed. More than one person James meets during his trip has since been murdered, forcing him to reflect that "it's a long, long way from a cheeky line at a dinner party in Notting Hill"


PBS Energy e2-Coal & Nuclear - Problem or Solution?

Renewables, biofuels, solar, wind and other energy sources may be alternatives to fossil fuel, but it is impossible to ignore the ubiquity of coal and the power capabilities of nuclear, despite their many drawbacks. These controversial resources may be major players in a sustainable energy future, however, thanks to new developments in carbon capture and sequestration and improved nuclear technologies.


PBS Energy e2-State of Resolve

Could California's progressive energy policies spearhead a nationwide shift toward cleaner energy? The remarkable laws that California has passed under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to regulate greenhouse gas emissions perpetuate the state's reputation for environmental leadership across the country, and potentially the globe.


PBS Energy e2-Paving the Way

In America alone, nearly 70 percent of oil consumed is by the cars we drive. Can efficient automobile design mitigate the environmental damage caused by our beloved cars? General Motors unveils The Volt, a super-hybrid vehicle, and the fuel cell-powered Sequel, while technology firm Fiberforge shows off the latest in ultra-light materials for car manufacturing.


PBS Energy e2-Energy for a Developing World

A cleaner energy future depends, in large part, on responsible energy consumption in the developing world. Founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, the Grameen Shakti organization in Bangladesh distributes small solar systems and portable bio-gas systems to rural Bangladeshis, empowering women and the poor in the process.


PBS Energy e2-Harvesting the Wind

Wind is the fastest growing energy source in the world, yet it has struggled for acceptance in the United States. In southwest Minnesota, however, wind energy is a burgeoning source of local power and income for farmers. Some have joined forces in wind cooperatives to invest in larger farms and reap bigger profits. In the absence of of a strong renewable energy policy at the federal level, the state government plays a key role in wind policy, begging the question: Will the rest of the U.S. follow Minnesota's lead?


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Discovery Channel: Stress Test-IMPACT

Everyday someone, somewhere feels the force of impact. When two objects crash into each other, trouble follows. Now science is hitting back, stress testing ways to protect us from the destructive power of impact. Impact is what happens in a collision. Impacts release energy causing objects involved to bend, break or rebound in response - the force has to go somewhere. Today, scientists are trying to control the violent effects of impact, and trying to make the world a safer place.


Discovery Channel: Stress Test-EXPLODE

Explosions, in a second, maim, destroy and kill. Scientists test explosives to see how they work and to figure out how to contain them. They urgently seek new ways to protect people & to save innocent lives. First, you have to understand what an explosion does. To begin with, it's a chemical reaction, and that sets off a violent release of energy, a blast. The blast produces a shock wave that hurtles outwards. It's this shock wave and flying debris that do dreadful damage to people. In the 1980's and '90's, Americans became targets for terrorist bombs. It began in 1983 in Beirut. First, the U.S. Embassy was flattened by a bomb, killing 63. Next, a truck laden with explosives killed 241 US soldiers. Then the menace attacked Americans at home: The Atlanta Olympics, the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City. Events and places with no obvious connection, but now, all are linked by bombs, violence, and terror.


Discovery channel-Mummies: The Ultimate Guide

The Earth is giving up its secrets: Mummies, people immortalized by ancient science or nature's whim, bodies that have hardly decomposed. Each one is an archaeological bonanza no matter how incomplete. Anthropologists pick over them inch by inch for the information they contain. Their preserved remains give us clues across millennia, silent witnesses that speak through their clothes, skin, and fingernails, telling us truths about the past, and giving up secrets long forgotten... and what they are saying could help shape the future.



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BBC-Dylan's Folk - the Pure, the Bad and the Holy

Documentary about the American folk revival, the milieu from which the nascent Bob Dylan emerged in the early 1960s and whose crucible was the Newport folk festival. In 1963 it provided the perfect platform for Dylan, under the patronage of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, to be acknowledged as the principal voice of folk music at the age of just 22. Other stars of the time such as Baez, Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Muddy Waters and Mahalia Jackson are also featured.


National Geographic - Ultimate Crocodile

Join National Geographic as they travel to the wilds of Africa to track the Nile crocodile, one of Earth's deadliest and most feared killers. The Nile crocodile is an ancient species that has haunted Africa's waters since the age of the dinosaurs. Yet in over 60 million years, this stealthy creature has changed very little.

A crocodile i its prime can reach over 18 feet in length and weigh nearly a ton. It can lunge several feet in the blink of an eye and subdue prey as large as a buffalo. Once nearly decimated by hunters, these mighty giant crocodiles are making an amazing comeback. In a land where lions rules the Savannah, Nile crocodiles are now reclaiming the rivers.


Dispatches: Mark Thomas on Coca-Cola

Behind-the-scenes investigation into a story yet to hit the headlines.
Political activist and journalist Mark Thomas investigates the way in
which Coca-Cola and its suppliers operate and the extent to which they
uphold moral and ethical obligations. Thomas travels to South America,
India and the US and finds evidence which undermines Coca-Cola's image
as a force for good, and has caused a backlash from consumers around
the globe.



Great Books: Gulliver's Travels

In the story of Gulliver's Travels a beached sailor takes four voyages to visit creatures large and small, in places far away. It is a dark and comical tale, read on many levels, characterized by a grotesque and deviate view of human kind. Perhaps it's an attempt to answer the question, "Who are we?" or "What is our nature?" At carnivals and amusement parks we can see ourselves and others from different perspectives. Our imagination is engaged as we see mirrors and distortions of ourselves. Long ago, there lived a genius and prolific writer, Jonathan Swift, who wrote a tale on distorted creatures and distorted perspectives. In it, he seemed to ask that question for us all: Who am I?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blood Diamonds: The True Story

Documentary series exploring infamous historical events. This instalment
examines the little-known truth about how the worldwide diamond trade has
funded wars across western and central Africa, leading to the deaths of
millions of people.


Titanic's Final Moments: The True Story

Documentary. In 1912 the 'unsinkable' Titanic disappeared beneath the
frigid waters of the North Atlantic. How she broke her back is still
under investigation. This programme follows a recent expedition to
uncover her missing pieces and uncovers surprising new evidence that
may forever change what is known about the Titanic's final moments.


Olympic Massacre: The True Story

The documentary series exploring infamous historical events continues with
an examination of the horrific events of 6 September 1972, when Palestinian
terrorist group Black September took nine members of the Israeli athletics
team hostage. Using new footage, archive material and eyewitness testimony,
this gripping documentary provides a unique perspective on that day's bleak



Baddiel and the Missing Nazi Millions

David Baddiel travels to New York, Berlin and Poland to find out what
the Nazis did with the money they robbed off his ancestors.


Athens: The Truth About Democracy

In this two-part series, historian Bettany Hughes charts the remarkable rise of ancient Athens from small city state to imperial democratic power, and it's equally extraordinary collapse just a century later.

Democracy, liberty and freedom of speech are celebtrated as the touchstones of Western civilisation. This series explores their origins. What we want to remember about Athens is that it was enlightened and egalitarian. We choose to forget that in the name of democracy, Athens followed a policy of aggressive overseas expansion and persecuted some of its leading intellectuals, putting back the course of science 1,500 years. As well as inspiring the West, Athenian democracy was built on slavery and was the place that first introduced the full face veil for women. Despite its legacy which lasts to this day, democracy in ancient Athens didn't flourish but quickly died.


The Pink Floyd Story: Which One's Pink?

Forty years after Britain's foremost 'underground' band released their debut album, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Pink Floyd remain one of the biggest brand names and best-loved bands in the world. This film features extended archive, some of it rarely or never seen, alongside original interviews with the four surviving members of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, and traces the journey of a band that has only ever had five members, three of whom have lead the band at different stages of its evolution.



BBC: Brasil, Brasil-From Samba to Bossa (Part 1 of 3)

Comprehensive review of Brazilian music in a three-part series which tells the story of the styles and the artists that have captured the world's imagination for decades.

The series starts in the days of slavery, when an estimated 4 million Africans were forcibly moved to Brazil, and traces the development of samba from the poor black areas of Salvador and Rio, where it was initially banned, to its fusion with European styles and its move to the mainstream.

The programme follows the career of samba's most successful and glamorous international star, Carmen Miranda, and the growth of the samba schools that dominate the Rio carnival. It traces the fight-back by musicians from the poor Northeast, who used a rival style, forro, to sing about the harsh realities of their lives, and shows how politics helped the development of a sophistcated new samba-jazz fusion, bossanova, from the Fifties, that was to bring international success to Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim.

The programme ends with the military coup that ended the optimistic, easy-going bossa era.


National Geographic Naked Science - Killer Asteroid

What is the deadliest threat to the human species? Believe it or not, it's a 200 million ton lump of rock hurtling through space at 50 times the speed of sound. It could slam into the Earth releasing the explosive equivalent of a 100 million mega-tons of TNT. Hear from astronomers who are working 24/7 to predict the trajectories of these asteroids, and from the scientists of the B-12 project who want to find a way to change the orbit of one of these planet killers before it's too late

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BBC - Frank Lloyd Wright: Murder, Myth, and Modernism

The American icon behind the Guggenheim museum, Fallingwater and his own home, Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright became the greatest architect of the 20th century - not only because of his magnificent talent but because he was a master showman and self-publicist.

The sheer scale of Lloyd Wright's career – over 450 buildings in 70 years – is astonishing in itself but there is much more to his story than the romantic myth his autobiography revealed.

This new documentary, accompanying the BBC TWO series Marvels Of The Modern Age, explores Lloyd Wright's visionary works and reveals how his life was beset with periods of devastating critical derision, financial chaos, scandal, and a violent but little-known murder.

On 15 August 1914, Frank Lloyd Wright was at his office in Chicago. 140 miles away, at their home in Wisconsin, his mistress, Mamah Borthwick-Cheney, sat down to lunch with her two children. In another room were six of Wright’s staff – tradesmen and studio workers. After serving the meals, Wright’s servant, Julian Carleton, quietly bolted the doors and windows, poured gasoline around the outside of the house, and set it alight.

As the house began to burn, he took a hatchet and attacked and murdered Mamah and her children – she was killed where she sat. He then went after the workmen. Herbert Fritz and Billy Weston escaped by smashing through a window. They were the only survivors that day. At his office, Wright received a phone call telling him only that there had been a fire but when he arrived at the train station he learned the full story from waiting reporters.

The brutal murders were the final tragic act in a story of adultery and intrigue that had scandalised polite society for the previous five years. Wright was grief-stricken but refused to be defeated – he vowed to rebuild Taliesin. This is the story of how Wright rebuilt his life and reputation on the site of his greatest tragedy, the house that he called ‘Taliesin’. Wright’s own account of his life is notoriously unreliable, but he revealed himself most clearly in the houses he built, and most of all in Taliesin.

If the Guggenheim is his epitaph, this is his biography. For half a century, Taliesin’s changing fortunes followed Wright’s own and it ultimately inspired the act of creative genius that justified Frank Lloyd Wright’s assessment of himself as “the world’s greatest architect”.


Jonestown Cult Suicides: The true story

The documentary series exploring infamous historical events continues. This instalment takes viewers back to November 18th 1978, and the apparent mass suicide by over 900 members of a religious cult and the murders of a US congressman and an investigating journalist. Using dramatic reconstruction, archive footage and testimony from survivors – including cult-leader Jim Jones’s own son Stephan – this film tells the story of what really happened on that apocalyptic day.

During the turmoil of the late 1960s and early 1970s, thousands of Americans flocked to hear charismatic preacher Jim Jones at his Peoples Temple church. Preaching a combination of socialist ideals and Christian redemption, Jones saw himself as both a prophet and a saviour.


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