"How unlikely that one of the least definable films from the last half-century would also be one of the most beloved. A favorite of classroom AV diversions, and an abridged presentation on the very first episode of '60 Minutes' helped make it the most viewed educational film of all time. 'I don't know what it all means,' Saul Bass himself admitted, and his 'Why Man Creates' (1968) is far more loose and playful than the rigid thesis its title might imply. In fact, it is the searching and open-ended nature of the various vignettes that perhaps makes the film resonate so strongly with viewers. Though an Oscar®-winner for Documentary Short Subject, the film is almost entirely invented, apart from recollections of old masters like Edison, Hemingway and Einstein, and brief encounters with scientists striving to innovate for the betterment of mankind. Creators invariably encounter problems, and have no choice but to persevere in the face of discouragement. If the film argues anything, it is that the unbridled pursuit of new ideas makes us uniquely human."
"Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries. Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science – there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis.
He discovers how medieval Islamic scholars helped turn the magical and occult practice of alchemy into modern chemistry and argues that these scholars are among the first people to insist that all scientific theories are backed up by careful experimental observation, bringing a rigour to science that didn’t really exist before."
"Most religions have a single creation story. Hinduism has many. This is because for Hindus there is no single creation, but periodic cycles of creation. The universe we live in is one of innumerable universes. Narrated by Gillian Anderson. Scripted by Nigel Warburton."
(BBC Radio 4)
"Some things that move us are beautiful, others are sublime. But the sublime moves us more profoundly than the beautiful. See how Edmund Burke tied the experience of the sublime to the possibility of pain and how the idea went on to influence the artistic Romanticism movement. Voiced by Harry Shearer. Scripted by Nigel Warburton."
"The Adventure of English is a British television series (ITV) on the history of the English presented by Melvyn Bragg as well as a companion book, also written by Bragg. The series ran in 2003.
The series and the book are cast as an adventure story, or the biography of English as if it were a living being, covering the history of the language from its modest beginnings around 500 AD as a minor Germanic dialect to its rise as a truly established global language.
In the television series, Bragg explains the origins and spelling of many words based on the times in which they were introduced into the growing language that would eventually become modern English."
[Complete eight part series available on YouTube distributed by Maxwell's collection Pty Limited, Australia]