9:00pm Monday 27 February on BBC ONE

In a new five-part series for BBC One, Jeremy Paxman traces the story of the British Empire.

In the first programme, ?A Taste For Power, he asks how such a small country got such a big head – a tiny island in the North Atlantic ruling over a quarter of the world’s population. He travels to India where local soldiers and local maharajahs helped a handful of British traders to take over vast areas of land. Spectacular displays of imperial power dazzled subject peoples and helped create a cult of Queen Victoria as Empress, mother, virtual God.

In Egypt he explores the bit of Empire that never was, as Britain’s temporary peace-keeping visit turned into a 70-year occupation. He travels to the desert where Lawrence of Arabia brought a touch of romance to the grim struggle of the First World War. As Britain came to believe it could solve the world’s problems, he tells the story of the triumphant conquest of Palestine by Imperial troops – and Britain’s role in a conflict that haunts the Middle East to this day.

Confirmed for Monday 27 February on BBC One at 9.00-10.00pm

Ep 1/5

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1