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A series of historical documentaries originally broadcast on BBC Two, but more recently airing on BBC Four.

Genres: History
Station: BBC Four (UK)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 1982-09-29

Timewatch Air Dates


S2016E05 - Crime and Punishment: A Timewatch Guide Air Date: 08 November 2016 21:00 -

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From the death penalty, to laws against homosexuality, Britain's criminal justice system has undergone momentous change in the last 70 years.

In this Timewatch guide to Crime and Punishment, presenter Gabriel Weston examines how television has played a crucial role in documenting these seismic shifts in British law and policing.

Looking back through the Timewatch back catalogue of documentaries and a host of BBC archive rarities, Gabriel discovers how historians and filmmakers have not only chronicled these profound changes in law but also managed to shape public opinion.

By highlighting miscarriages of justice, like that of the wrongful imprisonment of the Birmingham Six, or by shining a spotlight on other issues of corruption and damning flaws in police procedures, Gabriel finds that television actually became a powerful agent for change.


S2016E06 - Women, Sex and Society: A Timewatch Guide Air Date: 15 November 2016 21:00 -

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We are living through one of the greatest revolutions in history. One that has changed how we live in Britain forever, and yet many of us don't even notice it is happening. This revolution is the ongoing transformation of the rights and role of women. Historian and broadcaster Helen Castor examines the fundamental shifts that have taken place in Great Britain in this Timewatch Guide to Women, Sex and Society. Drawing on the Timewatch strand through the years plus decades of BBC archive, Helen investigates how this period of tumultuous change in our culture has been documented on television. From the heroic suffragette struggle for the female vote in the early part of the last century, right through the social and sexual rebellion of the 1960s and beyond, Helen explores how change has been driven by successive waves of feminism and activism, with each wave redefining what women want.


S2016E07 - Russia: A Timewatch Guide Air Date: 22 November 2016 21:00 -

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Military historian Saul David draws on classic Timewatch documentaries and a wide range of BBC archive to examine how television has portrayed Russia through the years. At the outbreak of war in 1939, wondering whether Russia would join the fight with the Allies, Sir Winston Churchill famously described this nation as 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma'. These words have almost come to define Britain's view of Russia ever since; an inscrutable power that always plays by its own rules. From our trusted World War II ally to the red oppressor of the Cold War, from a potential free-market friend when Communism crumbled to a new 21st-century foe under Putin, Russia has swung from friend to foe and back again - either way, we find it incredibly hard to understand her.


S2017E01 - Decoding Disaster Air Date: 13 July 2017 21:00 -

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From earthquakes to tsunamis to volcanic eruptions, natural disasters are both terrifying and fascinating - providing endless fresh material for documentary makers. But how well do disaster documentaries keep pace with the scientific theories that advance every day?

To try and answer that question, Professor Danielle George is plunging into five decades of BBC archive. What she uncovers provides an extraordinary insight into one of the fastest moving branches of knowledge. From the legendary loss of Atlantis to the eruption that destroyed Pompeii, Danielle reveals how film-makers have changed their approach again and again in the light of new scientific theories.

While we rarely associate Britain with major natural disaster, at the end of the programme Danielle brings us close to home, exploring programmes which suggest that 400 years ago Britain was hit by a tidal wave that killed hundreds of people, and that an even bigger tsunami could threaten us again.



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