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Filthy Cities – Industrial New York

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

From here:
Tue 19 Apr 2011 – 21:00 – BBC Two (except N. Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue))
Tue 19 Apr 2011 – 21:00 – BBC HD
Wed 20 Apr 2011 – 00:00 – BBC HD

Dan Snow travels back to a seething Manhattan in the throes of the industrial revolution. Millions fled persecution, poverty and famine in Europe in the 19th century in search of the Promised Land. When they arrived what they found was even worse than what they’d left behind.

New York was a city consumed by filth and corruption, its massive immigrant population crammed together in the slums of Lower Manhattan. Dan succumbs to some of the deadly disease-carrying parasites that thrived in the filthy, overcrowded tenement buildings. He has a go at cooking with some cutting edge 19th century ingredients – clothes dye and floor cleaner – added to disguise reeking fetid meat. And he marvels at some of the incredible feats of engineering that transformed not just the city, but the world.

Some clips:
Clip 1
Clip 2
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Filthy Cities on Tonight!

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Don’t forget, the next episode of Filthy Cities is on BBC2 at 9pm tonight!

Another clip from the episode.
Click to continue »

Dan on the BBC TV Blog

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Dan wrote an entry for the BBC TV Blog on his series Filthy Cities:

When the BBC got in touch with me and suggested a series about the history of filth I was suitably nervous.

In Filthy Cities, they wanted a series which explored the idea that we humans create a huge amount of waste that, if left untreated, can destroy us.
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YouTube – One Man, One Street, 6 Tonnes of Muck! – Filthy Cities – Episode 1 – BBC Two

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

YouTube – One Man, One Street, 6 Tonnes of Muck! – Filthy Cities – Episode 1 – BBC Two.

A clip from the last episode.

Filthy Cities – Revolutionary Paris

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

From here:
Tue 12 Apr 2011 – 21:00 -BBC 2 (except N. Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue))
Tue 12 Apr 2011 – 21:00 – BBC HD
Wed 13 Apr 2011 – 00:00 – BBC HD
Dan Snow
Just 200 years ago, Paris was famously one of the foulest and smelliest cities in Europe. In this programme historian Dan Snow sniffs out the rotten story of the French revolution.

Stunning CGI reveals the stinking streets where ordinary people slaved in toxic industries and suffered grotesque poverty and disease. Dan immerses himself in their world, visiting a perfumer to recreate the stench of the 18th century city – Pong de Paris. He has a go at one of the worst jobs in history – tanning leather by 18th century methods using dog excrement and urine – to make exquisite luxury goods that only the filthy rich could afford.

He gets a rare glimpse of the private rooms of infamous Queen Marie Antoinette at the glittering palace of Versailles and reveals some surprising facts about the royal court. Plus he comes face to face with the ultimate killing machine – the gruesome guillotine. Dan finds out what happened to the thousands of bodies that overflowed in the cemeteries of Paris during The Terror.

Dan discovers how monumental filth and injustice drove Parisians to a bloody revolution which would transform their city and give birth to a new republic.

Filthy Cities – Medieval London

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

From here:
Tues 5th April (that’s TODAY!!!)

Also on:
Weds 6th April – 0.00am – BBC HD
Thurs 7th April – 11.20pm – BBC 2 (England, Scotland, Wales only)
Fri 8th April – 00.20am – BBC2 (Northern Ireland only)
Dan dressed in protective gear ready to visit the sewers

Historian Dan Snow gets down and dirty in Medieval grime to discover the hard way how the London we know was forged in the filth of the 14th century.

State of the art CGI reveals London’s streets as they were 700 years ago and Dan steps into the shoes of a medieval Londoner – wooden platforms designed to help him rise above the disgusting mess underfoot. He spends the night as a medieval muck-raker shifting a staggering six tonnes of excrement, and has a go at medieval butchery to find out what the authorities were up against.

Plus, he examines the remains of a plague victim to discover how a catastrophic epidemic would help a new and cleaner London emerge from the muck of the past.
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Filthy Cities Mini Round-Up

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Bit slacking on the site LOADS for the last few months, life seems to have gotten in the way, but here’s a mini round up:

  • BBC Filthy Cities mini site
  • Do you have to dodge the contents of bedpans or step over rotting corpses on your way to work? Well, you may have had to if you’d lived in London, New York or Paris back when they were filthy cities. In this immersive new series Dan Snow brings these cities’ stinking histories vividly to life from the bottom up. Taking the travelogue in a whole new direction – with extraordinary, hands-on demos and stunts and revolutionary CGI – he excavates the murky past in gruesome detail during defining periods in history. You’ll find out how each of these modern capitals was forged in the muck of the past, emerging from ‘filthy cities’ into three of the world’s model metropolises.

  • Filthy Graphics – video revealing how the Filthy Cities series was brought to life using computer graphics and special effects.
  • Dan Snow’s Dirty Words and Filthy Phrases

BBC’s Filthy Cities Airing In Smell-O-Vision

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

From On the

The BBC is about to take our nostrils back in time with scratch’n’sniff cards that recreate the whiff of medieval London and revoloutionary Paris, to accompany new documentary Filthy Cities.

The show, presented by Dan Snow, will begin on BBC2 on Tuesday evening, when you can experience first-hand (or nose) the world’s most glamourous cities, back when they weren’t so glamorous.

Writing in the Sun, Dan said: “Ever since our childhood, a waft of a smell can bring back memories and emotions. To be able to trigger that at home through a television show is very exciting.”

Among the smells of sewage, ‘Pong de Paris’ and an 18th Century Tannery, there’s also the, rather nice, whiff of Marie Antoinette’s perfume. Pick up a scratch-n-sniff card from your local library from today to smell-along with the show.

Forget 3D, it’s all about watching smell-o-vision these days!

Hope you all picked up your scratch-n-sniff card from the Radio Times or local library!

Interview with TV Choice Magazine

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

From here:
Dan Snow
Dan Snow
Filthy Cities

TV historian Dan Snow jokes that his latest project didn’t feel like the easiest way to make a living! Filthy Cities aims to bring to life the stinking histories of London, Paris and New York, with CGI ‘ageing’ the city streets.

Hands-on Dan, 32, goes down into sewers, shovels five tons of horse poo, butchers a pig with a medieval axe, and allows himself to be covered in lice and be bitten by a rat and a leech! TV Choice asks: in heaven’s name why?!

Er, Dan, what an unusual idea for a programme…
“It’s a rancid idea! But I’ve always been interested in waste and our society. Basically, human beings create the seeds of our own destruction. Our waste has the capacity to destroy us, and that’s quite a weird idea, really. We can only really live in these big cities because we’ve worked out ways to get rid of this waste, and so I wanted to go back and look at the medieval city, the early modern city and the very modern city to see how we’ve overcome these giant problems.”

The first programme looks at London. What was it like in medieval times?
“London was particularly bad. They had to put all the muck in carts and take it out to the fields, they’d chop up animals and empty the entrails into the Thames, which became one vast sewer. And, of course people would wash in the Thames and they’d get cholera. Conditions were unspeakably horrible.”

You actually stand in London’s River Fleet, which some people won’t know about.
“Yes, the river’s still there, it’s just confined into a tiny little sewer underground now. The thing about the Fleet is that it got so choked up with sewage that it actually stopped running as a river. Newgate Prison was there, and the smell and the disease were so unbelievably bad that medieval Londoners started worrying about the health of the prisoners!”

Was it difficult getting permission from city councils for some of the stunts in the series?
“It was a heck of a series to work on. You can imagine how hard it is to get five tons of horse manure dumped on a busy City of London street, or how to get the New York council to put a 6ft high block of frozen horse poo on the street to show what it would have been like in winter in the 19th century! But I was learning new stuff endlessly, it was absolutely fascinating.”

But didn’t you baulk at some of the things the producers got you to do, like being bitten by a rat?
“I baulked at everything, really! I went into a flat in New York where a mentally ill woman had shut herself in for 30 years, and the flat was full of human waste and rats and lice and all sorts of nasty things. So that was very unpleasant.”

Martina Fowler

Filthy Cities – Medieval London

Monday, March 21st, 2011

From here (will be airing in the week starting 2nd April):

Historian Dan Snow takes viewers on a unique journey through the squalid grime of the past in this new, three-part series which uncovers the filthy histories of three of the world’s leading modern cities: London, Paris and New York.

Dan begins by visiting 14th-century London, lifting the lid on the untold story of the city’s fetid past.

Dan gets down and dirty in medieval grime to discover the hard way how the London we know today was forged in the filth of the 14th century.

CGI peels back the layers of London’s streets and, as they are revealed as they were 700 years ago, Dan steps into the shoes of a medieval Londoner – with wooden platforms designed to help him rise above the disgusting mess underfoot. He also spends the night as a medieval muck-raker, shifting six tonnes of filth and excrement, and even has a go at medieval butchery.

In his quest to immerse himself in all things medieval Dan also investigates the remains of a plague victim, and learns how the catastrophic Black Death epidemic helped a cleaner London emerge from the muck of the past.

Viewers can press the red button or visit to unearth extra filthy footage and join Dan on his journey. Viewers can also experience the real smell of history for themselves with special scratch-and-sniff cards available in libraries – more information is available via the website.