And this is the final list of TV programmes we watched over the last year. I’ve sorted them into categories, but possibly in many cases this tells you a bit more about the inside of my mind than the programme itself. For instance I put the current affairs programmes like the Panorama programme about North Korea into the same category as travelogues because some of those (like Simon Reeve’s programmes) also have a theme how the world’s fucked up and it’s all our fault. But also in there are some nature programmes (like Wild Arabia) that are much more about the beauty of the world than the problems in it. And some nature programmes belong with science. Oh, and “Fiction & Related” should possibly be called “Doctor Who”…
I don’t think I can pick a favourite or a least favourite of these, it’s far too varied. And some programmes were good to have watched, but not particularly enjoyable (see Depressing Current Affairs as a category). So without further ado, the list:
Depressing Current Affairs & Travelogues
- Australia with Simon Reeve. Simon Reeve travelling around Australia.
- Brazil with Michael Palin. Palin travels round Brazil.
- Dan Snow’s A History of Congo. Depressing look at the last 150 or so years of the history of Congo & how this has left the country in a state.
- A History of Syria with Dan Snow. Documentary about the historical context for the current civil war in Syria.
- Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve. Simon Reeve travels around the coast of the Indian Ocean.
- The Iraq War. Series looking at the events leading up to the Iraq War and the aftermath of the war, with interviews with many key figures.
- Israel: Facing the Future. John Ware visits Israel to talk to the people about the future of the country.
- Panorama: North Korea Undercover. Programme about North Korea, partly filmed inside North Korea itself.
- Tiger: Spy in the Jungle. Nature series about tigers growing up, filmed by cameras carried by elephants.
- TOWN with Nicholas Crane. Nicholas Crane visiting British towns.
- Unreported World: Egypt’s Tomb Raiders. Documentary about the impact the recent political instability in Egypt has had on the people who rely on the tourism industry, and on the antiquities.
- Wild Arabia. Nature show about the wildlife & people living in Arabia.
- Wild Shepherdess with Kate Humble. Series where Kate Humble visits sheep farmers around the world to see what’s the same & what’s different.
Culture & Biography
- Charlie Brooker: How Videogames Changed the World. A retrospective of the last 25 years of computer games, and their impact on our culture.
- Donald Campbell: Speed King. Biography of Donald Campbell, who died in 1967 trying to break the water speed record (for the 8th time).
- The Genius of Marie Curie: The Woman Who Lit Up the World. Programme about the life & work of Marie Curie.
- The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution. A programme about the life & work of J. M. W. Turner.
- Indie Game: The Movie – film length documentary about indie games, following the development of Super Meat Boy and Fez, and talking to the creator of Braid.
- Isaac Newton: The Last Magician. Biography of Isaac Newton.
- Nigel Slater: Life is Sweets. A combination of a history & survey of British sweets with some autobiographical reminiscences from Nigel Slater.
- A Night at the Rijksmuseum. Programme presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon about the re-opening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
- Secrets of the Arabian Nights. Richard E. Grant talks about the history & stories of the Arabian Nights tales.
- Shakespeare in Italy. Francesco da Mosto talking about Shakespeare’s plays that’re set in Italy.
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Simon Armitage talks about the poem Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, and his translation of it.
- When Coal Was King. Timeshift episode about the culture of coal miners in the 1940s & 50s. Not a full post.
Fiction & Related
- Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John.
- Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten.
- Doctor Who: Cold War.
- Doctor Who: Hide.
- Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.
- Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror.
- Doctor Who: Nightmare in Silver.
- Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor.
- Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor.
- Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide. Programme about the 50 year backstory & history of Doctor Who.
- Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor. Announcement of Peter Capaldi being cast to play the next Doctor.
- The Science of Doctor Who – a lecture by Brian Cox about the physics of space time, and the Fermi paradox.
- The Burrowers: Animals Underground. Nature series about the lives of British burrowing animals – rabbits, badgers & water voles – filming them in artificial burrows.
- Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life. David Attenborough talks about Darwin, Darwin’s theory of evolution and Attenborough’s own past.
- David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates. David Attenborough shows us how the vertebrates evolved from little worms to the diversity of today.
- Guts: The Strange and Mysterious World of the Human Stomach. Programme about the human digestive system presented by Michael Mosley, involving internal cameras amongst other things.
- Horizon: Little Cat Diaries. Short follow-up programme to
- The Secret Life of the Cat.
- Horizon: The Secret Life of the Cat. Programme about investigating the territories & ranges of pet cats using GPS.
- Horizon: What Makes Us Human?. Programme about the differences between humans & chimps, presented by Alice Roberts.
- Ice Age Giants. Alice Roberts talking about the large animals that lived during the ice age, complete with CGI recreations.
- The Joy of Logic – one off programme about the history of logic and maths, and the birth of computer science.
- Metal: How it Works. Series about the history & use of various materials (only the first episode is about metals).
- Prehistoric Autopsy. What we know about the lives & looks of 3 ancestors of modern Homo sapiens.
- Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Meet Your Brain. A series of three children’s lectures from Christmas 2011 about the brain.
- The Wonder of Dogs. Kate Humble, Steve Leonard & Ruth Goodman talk about the history & biology of dogs.
- Wonders of Life. Brian Cox series about life – mostly about the physics & chemistry behind it.