Professor Bettany Hughes investigates the story of Bacchus, god of wine, revelry, theatre and excess, travelling to Georgia, Jordan, Greece and Britain to discover his origins and his presence in the modern world, and explore how 'losing oneself' plays a vital role in the development of civilisation. In this fascinating journey, Bettany begins in Georgia where she discovers evidence of the world's oldest wine production, and the role it may have played in building communities. In Athens she reveals Bacchus's pivotal role in a society where his ecstatic worship was embraced by all classes, and most importantly women. On Cyprus she uncovers startling parallels between Bacchus and Christ. Finally, Bettany follows the god's modern embrace in Nietzsche's philosophy, experimental theatre and the hedonistic hippie movement to conclude that, while this god of ecstasy is worthy of contemporary reconsideration, it is vital to heed the warning of the ancients - "MEDEN AGAN" - nothing in excess.
Art historian Dr Janina Ramirez embarks on a journey through six decades of the BBC archives to create a television history of one of the most celebrated figures in art - Leonardo Da Vinci. Ramirez shows how experts and art presenters - from Andrew Graham-Dixon to Fiona Bruce to Kenneth Clarke - have turned to television to bring Leonardo's artwork out of galleries and into our living rooms. Through television they have explored the origins of Leonardo's boundless curiosity, his pioneering use of light and shade, and his remarkable scientific exploration. Along the way Dr Ramirez discovers Britain's little-known version of The Last Supper, the gruesome ways Leonardo acquired his anatomical knowledge - and even what lies beneath the Mona Lisa.
To celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force, actor Ewan and former RAF pilot Colin McGregor, his brother, take to the skies in some of the world's most iconic planes. It will quite an adventure as the brothers experience aerial combat at every stage of the RAF's story, from the dawn of the dogfight in World War One, the triumph of the 「The Few」 and the bravery of the 「Bomber Boys」 in World War Two, through to the Cold War and right up to the supersonic jets of today. On the way they will meet some extraordinary men and women, they will explore the great moments such as The Battle of Britain and The Berlin Airlift, and will uncover little known stories of bravery and brilliance. It is a story of amazing machines and epic battles but above all it is the story of the men and women whose courage and ingenuity have been at the heart of the RAF for 100 years.