This documentary/educational set is a two-part feast for intellectuals. Not only does it delve into what some of the greatest UK minds were thinking, but actually give archived footage of them expounding their ideas and pursuits. As a result, some footage is B/W, especially early 20th Century clips but what a treasure to get to see and listen to these deceased greats during the height of their glory. Viewers get stills, audio, and film footage of writers, intellectuals, revolutionists, and all facets between when a single person had a new idea that made a significant difference in society. BBC (the Beeb) founded 1922, began TV in 1936.
SDH SUBTITLES available.
DISC 1 is "British Novelists." This disc of 3 episodes, 175 min., alone is worthy of the set. Every HS through university should have it available, no-required viewing. And it's so enjoyable, students will be delighted. Better than any lecture. Here directly, and see with you own eyes these prolific UK authors (1919-1990). You'll notice, many of these author's great novels have been BBC adapted and are available on DVD as well as books.
===Episode 1, AMONG THE RUINS 1919-39: WWI aftermath via British writers, narration and archival footage, talk of the past and the issues set in text. HC Wells; Bloomsbury Group, EM Forster, Virginia Wolf; see awesome 1920s party footage; live interviews of: Cartland (700 post war novels), PG Wodehouse (Wooster & Jeeves), Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited), Elizabeth Bowen, Jean Rhys (Wide Sargasso Sea), Robert Graves (I, Claudius), TH White, Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Geo. Orwell (1984), Graham Green.
===Ep 2, THE AGE OF ANXIETY 1945-69: 1950s began reinventing the novel form in UK. Good & evil. See/hear: JRR Tolkiem (Lord of the Rings), Wm Golding (Lord of the Flies), Iris Murdoch (Under the Net), Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim), John Braine (Room at the Top), "Angry Young Men" writer group's gritty new looks at working class, Ian Fleming (James Bond) after Brit immigrant prejudice in novels comes the Cold War influences, John Le Carre (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Taylor Solder Spy), Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange).
===Ep 3, nothing sacred, 1970-90: Movements rose and fell as Brit novelists recorded lingering moments of society. Angela Carter (Feminist), Fey Weldon (women), Salman Rushdie (multicultural, Midnights Children, The Satanic Verses), adolescence novelists Martin Amis (The Rachel Papers) & Ian McEwan (The Cement Garden).
You'll be heading for the library fiction section fast.
DISC 2 is "Great Thinkers." Again it looks at the people whose minds made changes in society during 1919-90. 176 minutes in 3 episodes. A must see for students of education, behavioral sciences, and psychology--probably more.
===Ep 1, HUMAN, ALL TOO HUMAN: It's about humanity, and how best to define that, and how to address inhumanity. Who is responsible? Hear and see: Sigmund Freud (unconscious), Margaret Mead (adolescents) & then Freeman's rebuke, Carl Gustov Jung (individuation), Stanley Milgram (cruality), RD Laing (insanity-labeling), Dr Benjamin Spock (parenting), BF Skinner (behaviorism), Desmond Morris (The Naked Ape), Jane Goodall (chimps), Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene).
===Ep 2, THE GRAND EXPERIMENT: post WWII investment strategy to match war spending. Will it make a workable peacetime society? Marxist, Tariq Ali (revolutionist), Isaiah Berlin (liberalist), Bloomsbury Group's Bertrand Russell (math activist) & John M Keynes (Grand Experiment), Sir Wm Beveridge (social security plan-welfare state), Germaine Greer (Feminist), Milton Friedman & Keith Joseph on 1970's monetarism, reducing $$ flow-opposing post WWII plan. The cycle and quest of solid economics goes on.
=== Ep 3, THE CULTURE WARS: redefinition of `culture in 20th century spurred by media. The common masses get to taste arts and more. Interviews and looks at: John Reith (BBC head promoting arts to all), FR Leavis (Cambridge, elitist, literature), CP Snow (Cambridge, novelist opposed to Leavis). Common life aspects began to assimilate into culture. Raymond Williams (Cambridge, culture whole life), Richard Hoggart (Hull, urban working class, "Cultural Studies"). Then the 60's-70's UK culture influenced by US. Marshall McLuhan ("The Medium is the Message"), Kenneth Clark (BBC TVs `Civilization' high culture), CLR James writer/activist), Stuart Hall (80's multiculture theorist).
Bonus text bios on each disc and `A Viewer's Guide' booklet.
This is a first class, intellectual, documentary, but done at a level anyone can enjoy. View it and be educated entertainingly. Sorry, it's a long review, but this is one packed mind-expanding set.