The Big Allotment Challenge is a British television series that was first broadcast on BBC Two in April 2014. It is presented by Fern Britton and is about gardening in Britain.
In Oxfordshire, nine pairs of gardeners compete to win The Big Allotment Challenge 2014. Only one team can win and after each episode, one team leaves the series. There are three gardening judges: Jim Buttress, Jonathan Moseley and Thane Prince
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France is our closest neighbour and a popular holiday destination for many of us, but how familiar are we with its wildlife? With breathtaking photography, this film reveals that wolves, wild boar and even bears are living amongst France's many mountains, valleys and forests. Journeying from the Pyrenees to the Alps, all around the mainland to Corsica, this is the story of the 'wild side' of France. Narrated by Paul McGann.
A journey through the dramatic and destructive years of the French Revolution, telling its history in a way not seen before - through the extraordinary story of its art. Our guide through this turbulent decade is the constantly surprising Dr Richard Clay, an art historian who has spent his life decoding the symbols of power and authority. Dr Clay has always been fascinated by vandalism and iconoclasm, and believes much of the untold story of the French Revolution can be discovered through the stories of great moments of destruction. Who were the stone masons in the crowd outside Notre Dame that pulled down the statues of kings? Why do the churches of Paris still carry all the coded signs of anti-Christian state legislation? What does it mean, and who was carrying this out?
Telling the story of the French Revolution - from the Storming of the Bastille to the rise of Napoleon - as the significant modern outbreak of iconoclasm, Clay argues that it reveals the destructive and constructive roles of iconoclasts and how this led directly to the birth of the modern Europe.
From bomb threats sent to campaigners for more females on banknotes to sexually explicit pop videos. From extreme laddism at universities to rape jokes in the school yard... Kirsty Wark explores whether there's a new culture abroad in which it's acceptable to write about, talk about, and feature women in a sexually offensive, even abusive way. Or whether the female of the species just needs to 'man up', learn to enjoy a gag, and get used to the 21st century world.
Today, few people's clothes attract as much attention as the royal family, but this is not a modern-day Hello magazine-inspired obsession. As Dr Lucy Worsley reveals, it has always been this way. Exploring the royal wardrobes of our kings and queens over the last 400 years, Lucy shows this isn't just a public preoccupation, but our monarchs' as well. From Elizabeth I to our present queen, Lucy believes that the royal wardrobe's significance goes way beyond the cut and colour of the clothing and that royal fashion is and has always been regarded as their personal statement to their people. So most monarchs have carefully choreographed every aspect of their wardrobe and, for those who have not, there have sometimes been calamitous consequences.
The story of pop art has been culturally canonised as the preserve of a ground-breaking gang of boys, focusing on the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, or Tom Wesselman. Just like Andy Warhol's soup cans or Lichtenstein's comics, women were simply commodified objects.
However back in the day, pop art was not just a boys' club. The scene was full of female artists, tussling with sexuality, violence and consumer culture every bit as much as their male counterparts. Strangely, their work has been consigned to the margins of history - they started out together, shared the same art dealers and were shown in the same exhibitions, but as the boys' prices skyrocketed, the girls' stayed put. By the end of the sixties they had pretty much been erased from the pop narrative.
In this Culture Show special, Alistair Sooke tracks down the forgotten women artists of pop, finding many of them are still alive and working, their art and their stories ripe for rediscovery. Artists include Pauline Boty, Marisol, Rosalyn Drexler, Idelle Weber, Letty Lou Eisenhauer and Jann Haworth.
The changing position of the sun in the sky affects the behaviour of animals and plants across our planet.
From the moment it rises, animals are waiting, ready to take advantage of the opportunities that the sun creates. A quirky chameleon uses solar power to survive, while a family of lemurs get a morning heat fix. But, as the day progresses and the sun climbs higher in the sky, becoming more powerful, animals must also react as it pushes them toward moments of crisis.
As the sun sets and its great heat and light are extinguished, a night-time world wakes, full of characters who have carved a niche in the darkness. But even in the dead of night, the sun is not lost. Its rays are reflected in the moon, our 'ghost sun.'
We take the rising and setting of the sun for granted, but it is the ultimate game changer. The way the natural world responds will be the difference between success and failure, life or death.
Hormones shape each and every one of us, affecting almost every aspect of our lives - our height, our weight, our appetites, how we grow and reproduce, and even how we behave and feel.
This documentary tells the wonderful and often weird story of how hormones were discovered.
Presenter John Wass, one the country's leading experts on hormones, relates some amazing stories - how as recently as the 19th century boys were castrated to keep their pure soprano voice, how juices were extracted from testicles in the hope they would rejuvenate old men and how true medical heroes like Frederick Banting discovered a way to make insulin, thus saving the lives of countless diabetes sufferers.
And hormones remain at the cutting edge of medicine as we try and deal with modern scourges like obesity.
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For billions of years our planet was devoid of life, but something transformed it into a vibrant, living planet. That something was soil.
It's a much-misunderstood substance, often dismissed as 'dirt', something to be avoided. Yet the crops we eat, the animals we rely on, the very oxygen we breathe, all depend on the existence of the plant life that bursts from the soil every year.
In this film, gardening expert Chris Beardshaw explores where soil comes from, what it's made of and what makes it so essential to life. Using specialist microphotography, he reveals it as we've never seen it before - an intricate microscopic landscape, teeming with strange and wonderful life-forms.
It's a world where the chaos of life meets the permanence of rock, the two interacting with each other to make a living system of staggering complexity that sustains all life on Earth.
Chris explores how man is challenging this most precious resource on our planet and how new science is seeking to preserve it.
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Documentary charting the men, music and moments that have brought pop music out of the closet and changed the world along the way. Queer as Pop details how the gay clubs and scene have inspired and affected the music mainstream over the last 40 years.
This fascinating documentary shows how music has been influenced by the political and social liberation of gay men, charting key events from the repealing of laws banning homosexuality, through to the emergence of the disco era and the David Bowie-inspired New Romantics.
Chic's Nile Rodgers, DJ Paul Oakenfold, Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters and Erasure's Andy Bell discuss the evolutionary music scene spanning disco, New Romantics and house, through to Lady Gaga and beyond.
The Warehouse (or the "House" for short) was a nightclub established in northern Chicago, Illinois in 1977 under the direction of Robert Williams. It is today most famous for being what many consider to be the birthplace and heart of "house music" under its first musical director, DJ Frankie Knuckles.
A broad spectrum of dance music was played there; however, first and foremost were R'n'B and Disco. Knuckles experimented with different possibilities of developing an original expression, mixing disco music with European electronic music.
The Warehouse was patronized primarily by gay black and Latino men, who came to dance to disco music played by the club's resident DJ, Frankie Knuckles. It was located at 206 South Jefferson Street in Chicago.
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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 2014 American science documentary television series. The show is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan on the Public Broadcasting Service and is considered a milestone for scientific documentaries. This series was developed to bring back the foundation of science to network television at the height of other scientific-based television series and films. The show is presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was inspired by Sagan as a young college student. Among the executive producers are Seth MacFarlane, whose clout and financial investment was instrumental in bringing the show to broadcast television, and Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow and a co-creator of the original series. The series loosely follows the same thirteen-episode format and storytelling approach that the original Cosmos used, including elements such as the "Ship of the Imagination", but features information updated since the 1980 series along with extensive computer-generated graphics and animation footage augmenting the narration.
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Two-part documentary in which Jonathan Meades makes the case for 20th-century concrete Brutalist architecture in an homage to a style that he sees a brave, bold and bloodyminded. Tracing its precursors to the once-hated Victorian edifices described as Modern Gothic and before that to the unapologetic baroque visions created by John Vanbrugh, as well as the martial architecture of World War II, Meades celebrates the emergence of the Brutalist spirit in his usual provocative and incisive style. Never pulling his punches, Meades praises a moment in architecture he considers sublime and decries its detractors.
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Whenever Hanif Kureishi writes a new film or book, something is broken - a taboo, a confidence or new ground. The Buddha of Suburbia and My Beautiful Laundrette author, who first caused a stink turning his experiences of racism, Thatcherism and sexual transgression into corrosive comedy, has amused, provoked, annoyed and betrayed for over four decades now. It is with some relish, it seems, that the barbed and ruthless writer picks up a pen, and waits as friends, lovers and family take cover, fearing what bitter human frailty might get caught in his satirical gaze.
In the year he turns 60, Kureishi is putting out a new book, publicising his latest film and committing his life's archive to the vaults of the British Library. Alan Yentob might have expected to find him in a reflective mood but Hanif Kureishi is not one for mellowing. He takes his duty as national literary nuisance very seriously indeed.
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Hidden Kingdoms is a British documentary television series that was first broadcast on BBC One on 16 January 2014. The three-part series is narrated by Stephen Fry and shows how animals experience the world from their perspective. Animals shown include a chipmunk, dung beetle, Rufous elephant shrew and treeshrew.
Written and presented by Sir David, the programme takes us on a magical journey through the Natural History Museum at night.
Using ground-breaking 3D and CGI technology and the latest scientific research, Sir David reveals how ancient animals once roamed the planet and filled the skies.
Following the grandeur of Baroque, Rococo art is often dismissed as frivolous and unserious, but Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this three-part series he re-examines Rococo art and argues that the Rococo was actually the age in which the modern world was born. Picking three key territories of Rococo achievement - travel, pleasure and madness - Waldemar celebrates the finest cultural achievements of the period and examine the drives and underlying meanings that make them so prescient.
The first episode is about travel in the 18th century and how it impacted greatly on some of the finest art ever made. The world was getting smaller and took on new influences shown in the glorious Bavarian pilgrimage architecture, Canaletto's romantic Venice and the blossoming of exotic designs and tastes all over Europe. The Rococo was art expressing itself in new, exciting ways.
A richly detailed journey through the epic history of still life painting, featuring a range of delights from the earliest existing Xenia mural paintings discovered at Pompeii to the cubist masterpieces of Picasso.
Awash with rich imagery of fruit, flowers and humble domestic objects, this lively take on the story of still life encompasses the work of some of the genre's greatest artists from Caravaggio to Chardin and Cezanne. But it also captures the surprising contributions of the less well known, including asparagus enthusiast Adriaen Coorte and female flower painter in the court of Louis XVI, Anne Vallayer-Coster.
With contributions from historians Bettany Hughes and Janina Ramirez, art historians Andrew Graham Dixon and Norman Bryson, and philosopher Alain de Botton amongst others, it opens up the huge social histories that lie behind the paintings and the fascinating lives of the people who made them.
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The contrast between the majestic statues of Easter Island and the desolation of their surroundings is stark. For decades Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as the islanders call it, has been seen as a warning from history for the planet as a whole - wilfully expend natural resources and the collapse of civilisation is inevitable.
But archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper believes this is a disastrous misreading of what happened on Easter Island. He believes that its culture was a success story not a failure, and the real reasons for its ultimate demise were far more shocking. Cooper argues that there is an important lesson that the experience of Easter Island can teach the rest of the world, but it doesn't begin by blaming its inhabitants for their own downfall.
This film examines the latest scientific and archaeological evidence to reveal a compelling new narrative, one that sees the famous statues as only part of a complex culture that thrived in isolation. Cooper finds a path between competing theories about what happened to Easter Island to make us see this unique place in a fresh light.
Dan Snow attempts to use the latest satellite technology to reveal the secrets of the Roman Empire. Together with space archaeologist Sarah Parcak, Dan sets out to identify and then track down lost cities, amphitheatres and forts in an adventure that sees him travel through some of the most spectacular parts of the vast empire. Cutting-edge technology and traditional archaeology help build a better understanding of how Rome held such a large empire together for so long.
Shipwrecks are the nightmare we have forgotten - the price Britain paid for ruling the waves from an island surrounded by treacherous rocks. The result is a coastline that is home to the world's highest concentration of sunken ships. But shipwrecks also changed the course of British history, helped shape our national character and drove innovations in seafaring technology, as well as gripping our imagination.
In this three-part series, maritime historian Dr Sam Willis looks at how and why the shipwreck came to loom so large.
From Little Britain's Vicky Pollard to the Jeremy Kyle Show to toxic documentaries on 'feckless scroungers' - writer and broadcaster Owen Jones argues that this growing strain of malevolent British TV programming denigrates the working class. Increasingly, it seems that poor and everyday working people have become invisible onscreen as producers opt to show more extreme stereotypes instead.
One of the most innovative artists of the 17th century, printmaker and draftsman Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was also a violent, impetuous man, repeatedly in court for assault and even accused of murder. His turbulent life often overshadowed his artistic brilliance, and Castiglione struggled to achieve recognition in his own lifetime.
Yet his pioneering printmaking techniques would influence generations of later artists including Degas and Picasso and with the UK's first major exhibition of his work currently running at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace, art historian Helen Rosslyn makes the case for Castiglione to be seen as one of the great artists of the Baroque.
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