CHRISTOPHER SYKES PRODUCTIONS

christopher dot sykes at gmail dot com
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Feynman: THE PLEASURE OF FINDING THINGS OUT (BBC2 Horizon, 1981)
  Here
Feynman: FUN TO IMAGINE (BBC2, 1983) 
Here
Feynman: THE QUEST FOR TANNU TUVA (BBC2 Horizon, 1988)  Here
Feynman: NO ORDINARY GENIUS (BBC Horizon, 1993), Parts 1 & 2  Here


WEB of STORIES
- Oliver Sacks, neurologist and writer  Here
- Ken Adam, film production designer  Here
- Philip Roth, novelist  Here
- Marvin Minsky, mathematician and computer scientist  Here
- Sherwin Nuland, surgeon and writer  Here
- Jeremy Bernstein, physicist and writer  Here
Life stories for posterity/ WebOfStories.com


GENIUS OF BRITAIN

Great stories of great British scientists of the past, presented by STEPHEN HAWKING, RICHARD DAWKINS,  JAMES DYSON, ROBERT WINSTON,
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH,  JIM AL-KHALILI, KATHY SYKES, PAUL NURSE, OLIVIA JUDSON...

DOCUMENTARY SERIES/IWC Media for Channel 4
5 x 60 mins
Producer/Director
- Episode 2: 'A Room Full of Brilliant Minds'
and
- Episode 4: 'Out of the Darkness'
"This is a superb programme that makes you feel smarter for just having watched it"  The Times
"This was a serious account to do scientific history justice, an intelligent but accessible account of the lives of men and women who had shaped the course of history, presented by men and women who had spent their lives studying them."  The Guardian
YouTube 4oD Documentaries



WEB of STORIES
- James Watson, biologist  Here
- Lewis Wolpert, biologist  
  Here
- Diana Athill,
editor and writer   Here
- Anthony Howard,
political commentator   Here
- Gitta Sereny,
historian and writer   Here
- Jonathan Miller,
theatre and opera director   Here
- Alice Herz Sommer,
pianist   Here
- Redmond O'Hanlon,
explorer and writer  Here
- Norman Routledge,
mathematician and former Eton housemaster  Here
Life stories for posterity/ WebOfStories.com


DEAR MR TZABAR,
Self-exiled Israeli journalist, artist, best-selling childrens' author and satirist
SHIMON TZABAR finds himself in deep trouble when he publishes the spoof Michelin Guide to Israeli prisons, Jails, Concentration Camps and Torture Chambers... 
See Guardian
report   
See
Israel Imperial News
See Guardian
obituary
DOCUMENTARY/27 mins

See it on YouTube



DO YOU WANT TO LIVE FOR EVER?

Investigating the revolutionary life-extension ideas of
Dr AUBREY de GREY, immortalist and biogerontologist extraordinary; architect of the SENS programme to defeat old age and conquer death within his own lifetime. See Aubrey de Grey wikipedia entry
Windfall Films
for Channel 4 /76mins    
"If only all documentaries were this intellectually and emotionally involving" Time Out

"Oh boy! Wait till you see this one! Extraordinary, droll and thought-provoking" The Times
"They're never half-hearted at Channel 4, are they?" Evening Standard
"Genuinely fascinating documentary" Daily Mail
"Fascinating... Intriguing" Daily Mirror
"Wonderfully entertaining... high comedy" The Independent
"Brilliant" Daily Express
"Channel 4 almost redeems itself with Do You Want to Live Forever?" Financial Times
Watch
the film on Google Video


CIRCUMCISE ME?

Such a strange thing to do to a baby? A UK and USA road-movie, looking for the reasons why They do it... 
See a review here
BBC3 MISCHIEF /56 mins

Watch the film on Vimeo


SPITFIRE ACE

The Battle of Britain through the eyes of surviving Spitfire and Hurricane 'fighter boys', and four young pilots who try to follow in their footsteps by learning to fly Britain's only dual-control Spitfire, owned by pilot
Caroline Grace
RDFMedia
for Channel 4 /60mins x 4  


THE NEW FOUNTAIN
(produced by Lotte Sykes)
How Lord Neidpath built the world's tallest gravity-fed fountain at
Stanway House in Gloucestershire, with engineer David Bracey
DOCUMENTARY/30 mins


TO MARS BY A-BOMB: The Secret History of PROJECT ORION

The incredible story of how top scientists tried to go to the outer planets in a 4000-ton spaceship propelled by thousands of nuclear bombs. Based on
'Project Orion' by George Dyson, son of FREEMAN DYSON, physicist and key member of the Orion team
BBC4 and BBC2 /60 mins

"Intriguing documentary about a cold war Mars mission to build a nuclear bomb-powered spaceship the size of an ocean liner. Full of great interviews with the scientists. They don't even think about making them like this any more" The Guardian



FAKING IT: Radiographer to Fashion Photographer

Can DAVID KEITH swap his X-ray machine for a Mamiya camera and his lead-apron for blue jeans, and in only four weeks learn enough from mentor and top photographer 
STUART WESTON to pass himself off as the real thing on the London fashion scene?
RDFMedia
for Channel 4 /60 mins


VMAX: MAGNUM FORCE

The pleasures and excitement of owning and riding one of the world's most powerful motorcycles, the cult Yamaha Vmax, "the biggest, baddest bike on the block!"
Available on VHS or DVD.
See the trailer at
www.malthousefilms.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
DOCUMENTARY /30 mins

DIANA'S DRESSES
In June 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales auctioned seventy-nine of her dresses and gowns at Christie's in New York. Two months later Diana was dead. The new owners realised they had something very special on their hands...

BBC1 DOCUMENTARY /50 mins
and HBO
"An exquisitely dry, clever and funny programme" Evening Standard

"Diana's Dresses was an unlooked-for treat"  The Independent

THE DAY THE GUNS FELL SILENT Parts One & Two
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, Big Ben struck for the first time in four years to celebrate the end of the Great War. On this day, the survivors and their families looked back to a world that had gone for ever - and wondered what kind of world was waiting for them now
.
Part One: Before 11 o'clock

Part Two: After 11 o'clock

BBC1 DOCUMENTARY /2 x 50 mins

"Profoundly moving" Daily Mail

"Narrated to perfection by Timothy West" The Guardian

SHOOTING VERSACE
Legendary Israeli action-director MENAHEM GOLAN and producer SAM LUPOWITZ race Hollywood to the screen with their ultra-low-budget movie THE VERSACE MURDER

BBC2 MODERN TIMES /50 mins
   See also THE LAST MOGULS below
"Hugely entertaining" The Times

"Jaw-dropping...Delicious comedy" Independent

"Brilliant" Evening Standard

"Hilarious" Jewish Chronicle


SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD II

Second series (see below)

1. AUBREY MANNING, Professor of Natural History, Edinburgh

2. MONICA GRADY, Curator of Meteorites, Natural History Museum

3. ARTHUR C. CLARKE

4. THOMAS EISNER, Professor of Neuropharmacology, Cornell

5. RICHARD DAWKINS, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science,Oxford

6. ALISON JOLLY, primatologist, Princeton

7. STEVEN PINKER, Professor of Neuropsychology, MIT

BBC2 /7 x 30 minutes

"Beautiful television... Programme of the week. No question" The Guardian

"Seven Wonders is that rarity among TV programmes - it treats the viewer with respect" Daily Express

"Wonderfully entertaining stuff" The Times

"This marvellous series" The Observer

DO VAMPIRE BATS HAVE FRIENDS?
An exploration of the question of animal awareness and the mystery of consciousness
. See, for example, Thomas Nagel's famous essay 'What is it like to be a bat?'
Channel 4 EQUINOX Special /60 mins

"Genuinely thought-provoking" The Times

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
A sort of scientific Desert Island Discs: in each programme, a brilliant scientist tells us
about his or her own seven wonders of the world
1. MIRIAM ROTHSCHILD, zoologist

2. STEVE JONES, Professor of Genetics, UCL

3. STEPHEN JAY GOULD, Professor of Geology and Zoology, Harvard

4. JAMES LOVELOCK, physiologist and inventor

5. JULIE THERIOT, cell biologist

6. DANNY HILLIS, physicist and supercomputer designer

7. JOHN MAYNARD SMITH, Professor of Zoology, Sussex

BBC2 /7 x 30 minutes

"Some of the freshest science programmes for a long time" The Times

"Programme of the week" Independent on Sunday

"A damn fine programme" Time Out

"Few series have celebrated Earth's awesome beauty more than this Wednesday-night series" Hello!


NO ORDINARY GENIUS
Parts One & Two
(aka THE BEST MIND SINCE EINSTEIN in the one-hour NOVA version on PBS)

The life and times of RICHARD FEYNMAN, theoretical physicist

BBC2 HORIZON/WGBH NOVA /2 x 50 mins

"Fascinating portrait of a brilliant physicist" Daily Telegraph

"His sheer charisma keeps you hooked" Time Out

See the BOOK 'No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman'

THE STRANGE LIFE AND DEATH OF DR TURING
ALAN TURING 1912-1954.Mathematical genius, wartime ENIGMA code-breaker, and godfather of the digital computer

BBC2 HORIZON/WGBH NOVA /50 mins

"Director Christopher Sykes brings Turing to life with humour and affection" Daily Mail

"A compelling picture of an exceptional man" Time Out

"Highlight of the week... Don't miss Horizon at any price" CapitalGay

HOW TO TELL A TRUE WAR STORY
TIM O'BRIEN, ex-Vietnam footsoldier and author of If I Die in a Combat Zone, Going After Cacciato, and The Things They Carried

BBC1 OMNIBUS /60 mins
[never broadcast]
See it here

MY MOST DIFFICULT BOOK
VLADIMIR NABOKOV and how he wrote Lolita
 -
with MARTIN AMIS, A.S
.BYATT and EDMUND WHITE
BBC1 OMNIBUS /60 mins

"Ingeniously constructed and totally absorbing" Daily Telegraph

"A scholarly gem" Daily Mail

"A fascinating insight" Time Out

"An intriguing session round the Eng Lit anatomy slab" Evening Standard

"Spot on" The Observer

A WONDERFUL LIFE
A biography of the philosopher LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN 1889-1951

BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins

"A dramatic portrait of a truly extraordinary man" Daily Telegraph

"Lucid and beautiful" The Guardian

THE QUEST FOR TANNU TUVA
(aka THE LAST JOURNEY OF A GENIUS on PBS)

RICHARD FEYNMAN
, theoretical physicist, Nobel laureate and explorer, and his friend and drumming partner RALPH LEIGHTON tell the extraordinary story of their love-affair with a strange and distant land in the dead centre of Asia
BBC2 HORIZON Special/WGBH NOVA /45 mins



For Voyager Films with ALAN HAYLING (1990)

CALCUTTA
A portrait of the city through the eyes of the people who love to live in 'the worst place on earth'

Channel 4 /75 mins

"This film peers into the filth on the pavements, but finds something beautiful and vital without sentimentalising the subject" Observer

"Continually surprising" Sunday Times

"A kaleidoscope of marvellously detailed photography"

"An unforgettable portrait" Daily Mail



EDWARD SAID
Writer, critic and exiled Palestinian

BBC2 EXILES /50 mins



GETTING TO DYLAN
 
An encounter with BOB DYLAN during the making of the Richard Marquand movie HEARTS OF FIRE

A freeze-frame from the interview...  
Dylan's complete lyrics here...
BBC1 OMNIBUS /50 mins 


KOREA: POVERTY PROHIBITED

The forced eviction of the Seoul urban poor in the run-up to the 1988 Olympic Games

20-20 Television/Channel 4 DISPATCHES /40 mins

LETTERS FROM AN INDIAN CLERK
The romantic story of G.H. Hardy's relationship with the mathematical genius SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN

Download the full text of Hardy's classic memoir, A Mathematician's Apology here
InCA/Channel 4 EQUINOX/WGBH NOVA /60 mins

THE LAST MOGULS
The Israeli go-go boys MENAHEM GOLAN and YORAM GLOBUS. The rise and rise of Cannon Films, the most powerful independent in Hollywood.
See also SHOOTING VERSACE
above
BBC1 OMNIBUS /60 mins

THE INNER EYE
A six-part investigation into the riddle of human consciousness, with experimental psychologist NICHOLAS HUMPHREY

1 Imagined Worlds

3 The Ghost in the Machine

6 How like an Angel?

Artifax for Channel 4 / 6 x 60 mins
Producer/Director, episodes 1, 3 & 6

ONE PAIR OF EYES: FOOLS AND ANGELS
The English visionary artist CECIL COLLINS

BBC2 /30 mins

ONE PAIR OF EYES: MAKING MISCHIEF
'Pendennis' of The Observer, PETER HILLMORE
, goes in search of hot gossip...
BBC2 /30 mins

FUN TO IMAGINE
Six short films in which physicist RICHARD FEYNMAN enjoys himself explaining how the world works
.  
See YouTube or BBC Archive
BBC2 / 6 x varying durations

AFTER THE MASSACRE
Beirut, 1983. A hundred British soldiers are part of the International Peacekeeping Force in the aftermath of Chatila-Sabra...

THE BBC1 DOCUMENTARY /50 mins

THE PROFESSOR OF SURGERY
IAN McCOLL, Guys Hospital, London

BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins

BEFORE THE MASSACRE
Beirut, 1982. Doctors and nurses from around the world have volunteered to help clear up the human debris in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the siege of West Beirut

BBC1 QED Special /50 mins

THE PLEASURE OF FINDING THINGS OUT
Autobiography of RICHARD FEYNMAN, Nobel laureate and theoretical physicist extraordinary

BBC2 HORIZON/NOVA /50 mins UK and 60 mins USA

MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES
The story of ace British war photographer TIM PAGE, as told by Michael Herr in his legendary Vietnam memoir, Dispatches

BBC2 ARENA /50 mins

THE CLONE AFFAIR
Investigation of DAVID RORVIK's great publishing hoax - an account of the world's first successful cloning of a human child
?
THE BBC1 DOCUMENTARY /50 mins

THE DBCP FILE
A pesticide scandal

BBC1 OPEN SECRET /30 mins

FOR FIVE DOLLARS A DAY
Lead poisoning in West Virginia

BBC1 OPEN SECRET /30 mins

VILLAGERS
Sights and sounds of village India
BBC2 /15 mins

EAST OF BOMBAY
Revolutionary medicine and social engineering in rural Maharastra with Drs RAJNIKANT and MABELLE AROLE

BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins

WEST OF BANGALORE
Alternative technology in rural Karnataka with Professor AMULYA REDDY
and his colleages at ASTRA/Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins

THE SLATEMAKERS
The decline and fall of the slate-making communities of North Wales

BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins

MAD DOGS AND SMUGGLERS
The rabies threat to Britain, with CHRISTOPHER BRASHER

BBC1 TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY /50 mins

THE WAR AGAINST POLIO
The dramatic story of JONAS SALK and ALBERT SABIN and the race to make the first polio vaccine

BBC1 TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY /50 mins



christopher dot sykes at gmail dot com

CHRISTOPHER SYKES PRODUCTIONS