Richard E Grant discovers how three hundred years ago the Arabian Nights first exploded into the West. Ever since then its stories have entranced generations of children, and seduced us with a vision of an exotic, magical Middle East. Richard meets writers and poets in Cairo’s old city to learn why the fantasy, strange humour and the wild, wily women of the Nights are key to understanding the real Arab world
Critics: Richard E Grant had a brilliant time travelling the Middle East uncovering the history and dissemination of Scheherazade’s stories in Secrets of the Arabian Nights and gave the viewer a brilliant time right back. Lucy Mangan, The Guardian
Thirty years ago Britain took an extraordinary military gamble to liberate the Falkland Islands. This documentary reveals the enormous risks we took, and how a remarkable victory could have become a bloody defeat.
On April 2nd 1982 the Argentinians invaded the Falkland Islands, a tiny British outpost in the South Atlantic, 8,000 miles from the UK. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to send a naval taskforce to liberate the islands. Senior officers who served in the campaign, such as Major-General Julian Thompson, reveal how appalling weather, overstretched British air defences, poor communications and even incompetence sometimes stacked the odds heavily against the British. But their very personal accounts also reveal how professionalism and sheer courage overcame these problems. By explaining the hair-raising realities of individual battles, it sheds new light on the victory that we all remember.
Critics: “A cracking documentary, combining vivid archive footage, excellent interviews with square-jawed former soldiers and some worrying insights into the future of the islands.
The story will be familiar to many and yet there were still plenty of fresh details….The programme’s thesis that Britain came remarkably close to defeat in the Falklands was powerfully made. Six ships were hit by bombs which did not detonate. Had they done so, the campaign might have been stopped in its tracks.” Ian Hollingshead, Daily Telegraph