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Documentary Programmes

Living with Poverty

This series of authored documentary films offers insights into the real world of hardship and poverty. Each film-maker explores an area of England and records the stories of people who live on or close to the so-called breadline.

Some contributors live in fear of slipping into debt and poverty; others are already struggling to make ends meet. We hear powerful personal testimonies and witness lives that can often go unnoticed by the media and wider society.  


Mumbai Railway

Dan Snow, Anita Rani, Robert Llewellyn and John Sergeant are in India, exploring the world’s busiest railway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, revealing the science and systems behind this supersized transport operation.


Photographing Africa

Photographer and film director Harry Hook, who grew up in The Sudan and Kenya, has been documenting life in Africa for the past forty years.   In this authored film, he uses his intimate images to tell a personal story of Photographing Africa as he crosses the continent to visit remote tribal groups. 


Protecting our Parents

There are more pensioners than children living in Britain. As our population gets older, its health and care needs are becoming more complex, increasing pressure on a health and social care system at times already struggling to cope.

With unprecedented access to the NHS and Social Services’ older adults care teams in Birmingham, Protecting Our Parents follows medics and social workers as they attempt to meet the increasing demand on their services.


Supersize Hospital

Supersized Hospital follows the staff and patients of four of Glasgow’s oldest hospitals as they leave their beloved Victorian buildings behind, and move to one brand new state of the art hospital campus. 


The Barristers

The law influences what everyone does, but who influences and exercises the law? Amongst lawyers there is a powerful and influential group, including parliamentarians, judges and millionaires, known as Barristers.

Many lawyers attempt the Take the Bar, but of the many thousands who attempt it each year, only a few will earn the right to argue cases in the highest courts, dressed in gown and wig.


The Secret Life of Books (Series 1)

Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Mrs Dalloway, Frankenstein…just some of the classic works of fiction that we all know and love. But how well do we really know them? We might remember Rochester and Jane’s sparky dialogue in Jane Eyre or the Frankenstein monster jerking to life in the classic black and white movies…

But these rich and vibrant works have much more to offer us, and in this series our presenters will revisit original texts, manuscripts, diaries and correspondence to reveal new insights into some of the greatest works of literature.


The Secret Life of Books (Series 2)

There are some novels, poems and works of non-fiction that are so important that they become more than just literature – they define their age in a way that history books never can, and have shaped the imagination of Britain.

Series 2 of The Secret Life of Books tells the story of these key masterpieces, showing just why they are still so vital.



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