Gods and Monsters

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History Documentary hosted by Tony Robinson, published by Channel 4 in 2012 - English narration

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Image: Gods-and-Monsters-Cover.jpg

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Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters Tony Robinson explores the weird and wonderful history of belief, superstition and religious experience in Britain. For 2000 years, Britain has been a Christian country. Or has it? In fact, our ancestors actually kept many other dark, fantastical beliefs alive. It was a world underpinned by outlandish, dangerous and plain weird beliefs. Ideas that today seem unbelievable, but were seen as uncontroversial and hugely influential, with some having shaped our history as much as mainstream religion.

[edit] The Undead

Featuring dramatic reconstructions, the opening programme examines our fascination with and terror of dead bodies. People in the past believed that even in death a body retained some vital force, and that the dead could rise from the grave to cause havoc among the living. Why did they believe this? What powers did they believe the dead had? And what did they do about it? Tony's journey takes him on a fascinating and sometimes humorous tour of some of the darkest recesses of the ancient mind, and brings him face to face with a plague-breathing zombie, a dead body that seems alive three weeks after it died, and the English monarchs who ate the bodies of their subjects.

[edit] Evil Spirits

Imagine a world full of demons who could enter your body and take control of it. A world populated by invisible spirits that would steal humans - and especially babies, leaving 'changelings' in their place. A world where inappropriate behaviour or mental illness was taken as evidence of possession by a devil, and a sign that your soul was damned to hell. For thousands of years this was the world our ancestors believed they lived in, and it was utterly terrifying. But why did they believe this? What did they think spirits were? And what did they do to try and defend themselves against them? With the aid of dramatic reconstructions Tony tries to answer these questions. He travels from Roman Britain to 19th-century Ireland; on the way he reveals the story of a woman who became possessed when she was enveloped in a white cloud, he learns how to perform an exorcism, summons up demons using mediaeval black magic, and reveals the horrifying story of a 19th-century woman who was killed by her husband because he thought she'd been replaced by a fairy.

[edit] Disease

Instead of blaming bacteria, viruses or failing organs, our ancestors blamed disease and illness on demons, sprites and God. They sought cures not in pills or plasters, but in prayer, potions and the paranormal. Disease was supernatural and was associated with evil; the body was a battleground between the forces of good and evil. Tony's journey back into this world begins in Saxon times 1400 years ago. He discovers how relics from a bygone culture led people to believe that ailments such as strokes and angina were caused by mischievous elves. Looking back to the Stone Age, Tony attempts to recreate a horrifying surgical procedure pioneered 6000 years ago, which involved cutting through a skull to expose the brain. The hole in the head provided an escape route for the evil spirits that had invaded the victim's body. Warding off sickness might just mean using heavenly fragrances but if your sickness was a divine punishment, treatment meant penance, flagellation, prayer and fasting. The bold might try passing their sickness onto a body already destined for hell. If evil could be removed from the body, could goodness and health be transferred in? Our ancestors believed it could. Tony is immersed in a pit filled with the blood and viscera of a herd of slaughtered cattle. Could this lead to miraculous recovery?

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC
  • Video Bitrate: 1943 Kbps
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1
  • Video Resolution: 832x464 (16.9)
  • Audio Codec: AC3
  • Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps CBR 48KHz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 48mins
  • Framerate: 25FPS
  • Number of Parts: 3
  • Part Size: 700 MB
  • Source: PDTV
  • Encoded by: Harry65

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