20th Century

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[edit] General Information

History Documentary hosted by James May, published by BBC in 2008 - English narration

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Image: 20th-Century-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

James May's 20th Century James May's 20th Century is a television series first aired on 10 July 2008 on the British terrestrial channel BBC Two. The series is a co-production by the BBC and the Open University. Top Gear presenter James May explores the evolving history of technology over the last century. He discovers how far we've come in the past 100 years and the ways in which these technological advancements have shaped the world we live in. Transport, military developments and medical advances are all explored in this documentary for the BBC The series covers various inventions and discoveries over the past century with some reference to discoveries made before the past century. The show features the eponymous James May, exhibiting and discussing the implications of many of the major advances and inventions made during this period. Each episode features some theme, which was discussed in depth during the show, often following sequential advances in chronological order.

[edit] Honey I Shrunk the World

James May discovers how, thanks to planes, cars, televisions and computers, our world suddenly got a whole lot smaller. He takes a flight in the pioneering airplane that created the European mini-break and looks at the Ford Cortina - the classic family car that opened up a new world when he was a young lad. James also takes a Model T Ford for a test drive and finds it so difficult he wonders how motoring ever caught on.

[edit] Blast Off

James investigates what the Space Race did for all of us who never got a chance to blast off into orbit, discovering that the race to the moon began in Chiswick, West London. James gets to road-test a street-legal version of the lunar buggy, but finds out gravity makes the handling difficult. After taking his own satellite photo from 700km above Earth, he then travels to NASA's launch pad in Florida to see for himself the massive Saturn moon rockets that he once made in kit-form in his bedroom.

[edit] Body Fantastic

James May discovers just how far he can push his body, exploring some of the most remarkable medical advances over the last hundred years. He begins by testing himself in a centrifuge, a machine used to train fighter pilots and astronauts. He is then invited to watch open heart surgery, where a man's heart stops beating in the middle of an operation. Fortunately, it is all part of the procedure to fit an artificial heart. But his biggest surprise comes when he investigates the 20th century's greatest medical breakthrough - the discovery of DNA.

[edit] Take Cover

James May investigates some of the most ingenious ideas to emerge from 20th century warfare. He flies in the RAF's latest supersonic jet as well as a biplane, getting to grips with just how difficult it was for early aviators to hit their targets. James also joins a group of ex-paratroopers to test camouflage painting techniques. It work so well he can't spot a man just a few hundred feet in front of him, and so turns to a hi-tech infrared camera to spot his enemy.

[edit] Inventing the Teenager

James reminisces about his teenage years and the Yamaha FS1E, or 'the Fizzy', as it was known to the under 20s. The 'Fizzy' could be ridden legally by 16-year-olds and was the dream transport of choice for budding bikers. He also looks at the origin of the electric guitar and meets Status Quo, who mastered three of the chords you can play on one.

[edit] Big City Bright Lights

James investigates why so many of us choose to live in cities. In New York, he ascends the Woolworth tower - one of the tallest buildings on the planet. He tests the strength of glass used in skyscrapers, by dropping a Mini onto it. All cities need powers and James discovers that we all have a man from Newcastle to thank for the fact that we only need one type of plug on our electrical equipment, instead of 22 different plugs.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
  • Video Bitrate: 1540 kbps
  • Video Resolution: 720 x 400
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 1.800 (16:9)
  • Frames Per Second: 25
  • Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3)
  • Audio Bitrate: 128 kb/s AC3 48000 Hz
  • Audio Streams: 2
  • Audio Languages: English
  • RunTime Per Part: 29.Mins
  • Number Of Parts: 6
  • Part Size: 350 MB
  • Encoded by Harry65
  • Source: DVD

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