This episode tells the tale of what's broadly considered China's most creative dynasty - the Song (960-1279). Michael Wood heads to the city of Kaifeng, the greatest city in the world before the 19th century. Here in Twin Dragon Alley, locals tell him the legend of the baby boys who became emperors. He explores the ideas and inventions that made the Song one of greatest eras in world culture, helped by China's most famous work of art, the Kaifeng scroll, which shows the life of the city in around 1120.
When he was seventeen years old, Audie Murphy falsified his birth records so that he could enlist in the Army and help defeat the Nazis. When he was nineteen, he single-handedly turned back the German Army at the Battle of Colmar Pocket by climbing on top of a tank with a machine gun, a moment immortalized in the classic film To Hell and Back, starring Audie himself. In the first biography covering his entire life-including his severe PTSD and his tragic death at age forty-five-the unusual story of Audie Murphy, the most decorated hero of World War II, is brought to life for a new generation.
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi. Under the Qing, China doubled in size to include Xinjiang in the far west, as well as Mongolia and Tibet, creating the essential shape of China today. The new dynasty tolerated a diversity of cultures and religions, including Islam. In Kaifeng, Michael visits a women's mosque with a female imam, a delightful scene that ends with laughter and selfies! The Qing also undertook huge cultural enterprises.
The actor examines different faiths' views on miracles, meeting a man who survived falling 47 storeys and a cancer patient who believes his illness can be cured by prayer.