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Brunel's last launch.
Nowadays, London's East End is synonymous with the 2012 Olympic Games. Cutting-edge engineering and design have transformed the Olympic Park. But 150 years ago, the world was watching for a very different reason, although the spectacle on display was as high-tech as anything on offer today.
The East End was once home to the most advanced shipbuilding industry - and best workers and shipyards - in the world.
A century and a half ago, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Britain's most famous engineer, was about to launch a ship five times bigger than any that had ever been built before, the most revolutionary vessel the world had ever seen: the SS Great Eastern.moreless
The Way we Lived
Tony Robinson and Mick Aston dig out the best bits of over 200 Time Team episodes to tell the story of how our domestic lives have changed over 10 millennia.
Boudica's Lost Tribe
Boudica is revered as one of the greatest female warriors in history. Tony Robinson traces her story and follows a major excavation in Norfolk that may hold the key to uncovering what happened to Boudica's tribe after they were defeated by the Roman army.
Boudica's tribe, the Iceni, used to make exquisite torcs: jewellery that required metalworking skills more advanced than anywhere else in the world; and they left behind some of the greatest treasures of prehistory.
When the Romans threatened their way of life, the tribe dared to take on the full might of the Roman Empire. But the tribe's revolt failed and as Boudica disappeared from history so did the Iceni.
Tony Robinson and geophys boffin John Gater look back over 200 digs at the extraordinary achievements of cutting-edge geophysics technology, which has uncovered lost Roman villas, tombs, temples and ancient monuments, as well as a host of old broken tractor bits and enigmatic ditches.
Castle of the Saxon Kings
The Somme's Secret Weapon
In the half-light of dawn, on the frontline of the Somme battlefield on 1 July 1916, a small metal nozzle pushed its way up through the ground in No Man's Land to point at the German front line.
On the signal, a terrifying stream of burning oil shot out of the nozzle, drenching the German trenches in flaming diesel. The soldiers that didn't flee would have burned alive.
It was the day the British army launched an all-out assault in northern France. Along the 16-mile front, tens of thousands of soldiers died and the only ground that the British forces captured was around the village of Mametz, where historian Peter Barton believes that a top-secret and terrible weapon, known as a Livens Flame Projector, was deployed.
Although there are plans and secret war diaries, not one piece of this weapon exists in any museum in the world.
Tony Robinson joins a unique dig near Mametz, delving into the past to find out whether or not this weapon really was deployed and, if so, whether it really worked in the way that was described. And, employing the skills of the Royal Engineers, a replica Livens Flame Projector fires up for one last, terrifying, time.
War of the Roses
The Battle of Bosworth was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses. It was the beginning of the end of three decades of treason, rebellion and dynastic warfare. Against huge odds, Henry Tudor won the day to take the English Crown. It was a turning point in English history, the end of the Middle Ages and the savage beginnings of the country we recognise today. For five years, a team of archaeologists have been combing this blood-stained ground. What these archaeologists have found is changing the entire understanding, not just of this iconic battle, but the very nature of warfare at this time.moreless