History Channel

More gore for Spartacus prequel

The producer of Spartacus: Blood and Sand has confirmed that the upcoming prequel series, Gods of the Arena, will feature even more blood and gore. Steven DeKnight told The AP: “There are some deaths that are so incredible you just have to rewind and watch again because you can’t believe what you just saw.”

Another Kardashian series coming

Another Kardashian-based reality show is set to begin filming with Khloe Kardashian and her basketballer husband Lamar Odom launching their own show. The pair will be the centre of the new E! channel series which will follow them in their everyday lives as well as that of Kardashian’s brother Robert.

History Channel drops Kennedy series

The History Channel has dropped its new miniseries based on the Kennedy family, claiming that it is “not a fit for the History brand.” The series, which features Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy alongside Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy, has already been criticised for a number of historical inaccuracies but will still screen internationally on other networks.

Palin series axed

Sarah Palin’s reality show has been axed after just its first season in the US. The move is said to be an indicator that the former vice presidential candidate is to run for office in 2012 which would give the network which screened the show the difficult task of dedicating an equal amount of screentime to her fellow candidates.

The History Channel will commemorate the true spirit of ANZAC DAY with selection of special programming commencing from 10.30am on Friday 25 April – SKY Channel 73.

PREMIERES:

REVEALING GALLIPOLI, 5.30pm (1×120’)

Channel Premiere

In 1915, the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli was the site of one of the world’s bloodiest military campaigns. Broadening our understanding of the Gallipoli campaign, this special offers new perspectives, stories, archival and contemporary images previously unknown to our audience. Never before has Gallipoli been treated in such an even-handed yet embracing account of the experiences of the participants in this historic moment of conflict. (PG)

GALLIPOLI’S DEEP SECRETS, 7.30pm (1×60’)

WORLD PREMIERE – EXCLUSIVE ANZAC DAY PRODUCTION

Featuring World famous Shipwreck hunter (of Titanic fame) Robert Ballard, Narrated by Colin Friels. Bob Ballard dives to the ocean depths searching for British and French warships that sank during the Battle at Gallipoli – one of the bloodiest and most controversial campaigns of World War I. We’ll scour the warship graveyard using Nautilus, an advanced mobile research vessel with state-of-the-art electronics, computers, navigational and communications systems. It’s the most comprehensive underwater exploration of shipwrecks from the Battle at Gallipoli ever taken.

A VERY SHORT WAR, 8.30pm (1×60’)

WORLD PREMIERE – EXCLUSIVE ANZAC DAY PRODUCTION

A VERY SHORT WAR is a deeply personal story – one that resonates with and speaks to every name found chiselled into memorial monuments scattered throughout the world’s cities and country towns. It revolves around the short life of Jack Clifford (Cliff) Carpenter, a pioneer Australian aviator of the 1930’s. Cliff had designed and built his first aeroplane as a teenager and sadly lost his life at the age of 28 in the darkening skies over Norway on the day of the German invasion. He left behind a grieving mother and father, a brother, two sisters and an enduring family legacy. Through his letters home we are exposed to a fascinating and intriguing insight into the spirit of the times as World War II beckoned.

 

OTHER SPECIALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY:

VIETNAM NURSES, 10.30am (1×60’)

From the thrill of riding in a chopper across the beautiful Vietnamese countryside to the life and death situations they faced in theatre and intensive care, the women tell the untold stories of their Vietnam War. Maggie, Colleen, Terrie, Jan, Diane and Ann were young women with a passion for life, determined to leave their small country town existence and experience the world. When Vietnam was in the news they jumped at the opportunity to go so they could use their nursing skills to care for soldiers.

THE CRUCIFIED SOLDIER, 11.30am (1×60’)

On the 24th April 1915 it emerged that a Canadian Soldier had been found crucified against a barn door at St Julien near Ypres. The story of The Crucified Soldier caused international outrage until the outcome of a post-war investigation by the British Government declared the account untrue, claiming it was nothing more that a myth of the trenches and war propaganda.  The crucified Canadian is one of the most infamous of all war atrocity stories. Yet despite its dominant presence in atrocity accounts, and its ripple-effect in post war debate, memorials, art and film – historians have never attempted to fully investigate the story. Now more than 80 years later, a letter, a statue and a fresh assessment of the psychology of war provide compelling new evidence that turns the myth back into reality and reveals the identity of The Crucified Soldier.

WINNING WWI: THE WESTERN FRONT DIARIES, 1.30pm (1×120’)

This special takes an in-depth look at the ANZAC contribution to the western front victories battle by battle. Although the loss of life was greater, unlike Gallipoli the ANZACS were a key component in the allied success story. Unlike the defeat at Gallipoli, Australians were very effective and largely responsible for Winning World War I on the Western Front. Five times more Australians were also killed on the western Front than in Gallipoli. Based on the book by Author, Brand Ambassador and SMH History Writer Dr Jonathon King.

BEYOND KOKODA, 3.30pm (1×120’)

This moving documentary shows the violent and savagery experiences shared between Australian and Japanese soldiers forged in the dense jungles of Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda Campaign was a war without mercy, the scene of one of the most brutal conflicts in Australian History. This 2-hour special shows the story of men caught in the war and how they reconcile their shared history over sixty years later by interviews with Australian soldiers and for the first time show extensive interviews with Japanese soldiers and airmen to gain a unique and almost lost perspective of the Kokoda Campaign. The battle was a decisive Australian victory, a victory that delivered Australia from Japanese encirclement and possible occupation. The film provides Australian and Japanese audiences with poignant statements about the bloody nature of war and how this has scarred the young men who fought it.

THE BATTLE OF LONG TAN, 10.30pm (1×120’)

This exclusive documentary honours the true story behind the heroic deeds of a group of young Australian and NZ soldiers in one of the most pivotal, dramatic and shocking engagements of the Vietnam War. Now 40 years on, their bravery places a new glow on the ANZAC legend and public perceptions of our role in the Vietnam War.

Sunday 14th June – Sunday 21st June

Could the world as we know it end on December 21, 2012? Did ancient prophets actually predict Armageddon?  Is the Earth about to experience unprecedented, cataclysmic disasters ranging from massive earthquakes and tsunamis to nuclear reactor meltdowns? In June the History Channel examines these doomsday prophecies and the events and natural phenomena happening around us through an exclusive line-up of apocalyptic documentaries. Titles include:

SEVEN DEADLY SINS 

Sunday 14 June to Saturday 20 June, 7.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

The seven deadly sins (Lust, Greed, Anger, Pride, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth) have had an enormous impact on the moral compass of the modern world. We will see how the sins have been understood in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and find out why some argue they have even greater significance than the Ten Commandments. If it’s true, as many believe, that the Apocalypse is coming, then the seven deadly sins are the ultimate emergency preparedness checklist. With this series, you’ll find out just how guilty you are. In this series, each of the seven sins will be revealed with ominous CGI animation. We will explore the nature of the sin, its opposing virtue, and its corresponding punishment. We will also trace the history of the sins, and will look at historical figures who have been the worst perpetrators of each. 

FIRST APOCALYPSE     

Sunday 14 June, 8.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

Sixty five million years ago, the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the Earth. Over the years, there have been a number of theories as to why. For the last three decades, it has been thought that the cause was an asteroid impact in Mexico. Now, some scientists believe that a giant volcano in India was the culprit, as well as other environmental factors. Either way, many agree that the demise of the dinosaurs could not have been a simple story of a single impact event, followed by complete extinction. It is believed by many experts that a complex interaction of events combined to fulfil a fate many thousands of years in the making. How can we learn from the dinosaur’s fall from grace and how much our own fate may be intertwined with theirs? Are we doomed to follow in the dinosaurs footsteps or can we face down extinction?  

COMETS: PROPHETS OF DOOM

Tuesday 16 June, 8.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

These celestial travellers have forever filled us with fear and wonder. Lurking in the furthest reaches of our solar system, they come close to Earth as they orbit our Sun. So close they may leave their signature: massive craters…roiling oceans. Could something as destructive as comets hold the key to life? Are the building blocks of carbon-based life forms frozen inside? Might they contain information about the creation of our solar system? At the conclusion of two spectacular NASA missions that sent spaceships to rendezvous with these mysterious objects, we examine the scientific and historical record of comets, including man’s reaction to them. Did a comet lead the Wise Men to Bethlehem? Did they foretell the death of kings, the destruction of civilizations? How did Halley’s Comet provide Isaac Newton with the clues for his theories of gravity? Finally, what comprises this dirty snowball and how can we protect ourselves if headed on a collision-course with one?

THE UNIVERSE: STOPPING ARMAGEDDON

Wednesday 17 June, 8.30pm

It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster. A deadly asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. But in reality, it’s only a matter of time before a giant space rock threatens to wipe out civilization. An asteroid took out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Are we next? This episode analyses the threat and explores the many ways from a nuclear bomb to ingenious new technology that experts are proposing to stop Armageddon.

HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE – THE SERIES

Continuing from Wednesday 3 June, 9.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

Building on the success of the two-hour special, How the Earth Was Made- The Series will do for geology what The Universe has done for astronomy. The series will go back in history from 4.5 billion years ago and travel all over the world in order to peel back layers of rock, fill up river canyons, part the oceans, level mountains and volcanoes, and investigate fascinating geological formations to tell the story of how the earth was made. We’ll go on location with scientists who reveal the latest thinking on how each phenomenon came into existence, what forces caused the mountain to rise or the canyon to form. Each episode will capture a particular moment in history, a special location or a key process that created amazing geological formations we know or have heard about today. 

SEVEN SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE 

Thursday 18 June, 8.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

The Seven Signs are clear: We will be struck by deadly plagues, famines and earthquakes… The sky will turn dark and oceans will turn to blood… And the antichrist will emerge to fight the final battle between good and evil. Could this all be true? Experts decode this powerful prophecy and come to a startling conclusion: there is now scientific evidence that many of these catastrophes could, in fact, be occurring. A star falling from the sky could be one of thousands of rogue asteroids that may be approaching earth. The plague foretold in the Bible could be a deadly strain of avian virus that researchers fear could kill millions. Oceans turning blood red could be triggered by micro-organisms that release dangerous neurotoxins that have the same effect as nerve gas. To reveal the ultimate truth behind the prophecy, this investigation will turn to the past to reveal why the prophecy was written, and why it keeps such a powerful hold on our imagination today.  

WITNESS TO 9/11: 102 MINUTES THAT CHANGED AMERICA

Sunday 21 June, 9.30pm

Encore Screening

A new historical record is emerging of the sights and sounds of the attack on the World Trade Centre. This two-hour special will distinguish itself from other 9/11 documentaries by using only unique and rarely seen and heard archive to document the 102 minutes between the first attack on the World Trade Centre to the collapse of the second tower. This will be a lasting document whose unique material comes from a range of non-traditional sources, including amateur photography, video, and film; FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority and emergency dispatch radio recordings, photography and video; recorded voicemails; audio/video diaries; footage and stills broadcast or published outside the United States; electronic messages; surveillance camera footage; and “outtakes” culled from raw network footage.

THE NEXT BIG BANG

Saturday 20 June, 8.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

After 40 years of planning and construction, the biggest science experiment in history is ready to be tested. On September 10th in 2008, the switch was thrown on what’s called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The resulting data has the potential to explain why we and the Universe exist. The LHC, which cost $10 billion in planning and construction, is an experiment created by the greatest minds in physics. Their idea is to smash protons towards one another at the speed of light, trying to mimic what happened in the milliseconds after The Big Bang. In particle physics, this is a hadron. The experiment took place in a specially constructed 17-mile tunnel 100 meters under France and Switzerland. It had 10-story detectors, more than 10,000 magnets, and thousands of identical crystals placed throughout. 

NOSTRADAMUS: 2012

Sunday 21 June, 7.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

Whatever is in store- a massive cosmic collision, a global environmental disaster, an Armageddon-like religious showdown, or a more subtle transformation-many believe that December 21, 2012 will mark a major shift in the history of our planet. There is no cogent distinction between the sobering facts and hysterical fiction. What, if any, modern scientific proof exists? Is there any other compelling evidence throughout history that 2012 will be a year of unprecedented, deadly upheaval? This special looks for the parallels between the nightmarish daily headlines and the 2012 prophecies from Nostradamus and others. From the mystical realms of the Guatemalan jungles to the Hopi elders and Mayan shaman to respected thinkers of the modern age-Nostradamus’ doomsday warning will be cast in a frighteningly modern context. 

EARTHSHOCKS: DEATH OF A STAR

Sunday 21 June, 9.30pm

New Zealand Premiere

For the first time in human history, scientists have found the ultimate faith of Earth written in the comet trail of a massive red giant ‘shooting’ star. As we read this stellar trail, we learn what happens during the end of a star’s life to reveal that when they die, stars can project a killer beam of radiation and particles deadly enough to kill all life that lies in its path. Worse still, there may already be a beam headed this way with our name on it.

Thursday 12 March at 7.30pm on HISTORY CHANNEL

New Zealand Premiere!

In this fascinating investigation we take a detailed look at the events leading up to and during the landmark September 1986 Commission trial which helped take down the five New York Mafia crime families. Using the trial and its preparations as a framework throughout, we learn about the history of key members of the families, as well as officials’ attempts over the years to prosecute them. In conclusion we raise and answer the question: did the Commission trial completely destroy the mob or do facets of it still exist in the US today?

HISTORY CHANNEL – Saturday 27 December, 7.30pm

On the edge of the Giza Plateau, a team of archaeologists is uncovering a giant pyramid. As they excavate deep into the pyramid chambers, evidence shows this is the lost fourth pyramid of Giza. Its construction five thousand years ago had been a race against time. In seven short years between gaining power and his death, the aging pharaoh Radjedef had been determined to exceed the achievements of his hated father, the great Khufu, the most powerful pharaoh Egypt ever knew. Radjedef would stamp his supremacy in this world and the next by erecting the highest pyramid ever built, towering some 60 feet above Khufu’s Great Pyramid of Giza.

HISTORY CHANNEL – Saturday 27 December, 5.30pm

Five centuries after they were sketched in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, this series brings together leading engineers, designers and craftsmen to build two of the legendary artist, inventor and scientist’s fantastical machines – a giant crossbow and a flying machine. The programme also looks at the life of the greatest of Renaissance Men and the obsession with invention that was to last his lifetime. Leading experts in art, design and medicine and flight tell how Leonardo’s ideas inspired future experimenters and often pre-dated modern ‘discoveries’ by hundreds of years.

HISTORY CHANNEL – Tuesday 23 December, 10.30pm

German military aircraft designs were decades ahead of their Allied counterparts. To ensure Luftwaffe superiority, their designers tested highly advanced concepts including wing-swept and vertical take-off aircraft, and stealth bombers. Using computer generated images and archival footage, we trace the development of Hitler’s airborne arsenal.

HISTORY CHANNEL – Wednesday 24 December, 8.30pm

A Christian icon for two thousand years and the Church’s most legendary sinner-turned-saint, Mary Magdalene’s underestimated role in Christianity is finally coming to light. With compelling evidence, this revealing program tackles the myths about the infamous and controversial Mary Magdalene. Questions are raised about Mary’s position in the early Christian movement, provoking some unexpected answers in this intriguing and momentous documentary.

HISTORY CHANNEL – Tuesday 18 November, 7.30pm

This powerful dramatised documentary tells the story of the most infamous battle of the First World War – the Battle of the Somme. Based on real accounts it follows a group of friends from the north of England who fought, and died, side by side on 1 July 1916 – the first day of the Somme and the bloodiest day in British military history. This programme also reveals how it was the Somme that taught the British Army how to fight a modern war – stories of men like Lt Colonel Frank Maxwell and Private Frederick Edwards would help turn initial defeat into ultimate victory using innovative tactics. A mix of realistic and deeply moving drama, archive footage and CGI bring the extraordinary events of the battle to life for a modern audience. The result is a deeply moving film that offers a radical new perspective on this bloodiest of battles.

HISTORY CHANNEL – Wednesday 19 November, 10.30pm

This special presents a fascinating under-the-skin investigation of circus sideshow medical mysteries that features state-of-the-art animation, inside-the-body imaging, myth-busting stunts and Hollywood special effects. Audiences of the 19th century flocked to gawk at the afflicted, from hairy women and scaly men to conjoined twins. The three-Legged-Man, two-Headed Lady, and the Dog-Faced Boy were the true superstars of their time, but their rare conditions, and lifestyles, were barely understood until today.