Shakespeare wrote of England as a “precious stone set in the silver sea,” suggesting a nation content with its place in the world, but for others the “stone” held the luster of global power—and today its shadow looms like a mountain over the landscape of history. This five-part series looks at the British Empire from new and unusual angles, exploring not only the rise and fall of the realm but also its impact—political, social, and technological—on an international level and in the British consciousness. Presented by journalist Jeremy Paxman, author of Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British, the series retraces the building of the Anglo-centric sphere of influence while presenting an unflinching view into the darker, less noble aspects of Britain’s imperial past. Produced by the Open University. 5-part series, 58–59 minutes each.