CHRISTOPHER SYKES PRODUCTIONS

christopher dot sykes at gmail dot com
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Feynman: THE PLEASURE OF FINDING THINGS OUT (BBC2 Horizon, 1981)  See it here

Feynman: FUN TO IMAGINE (BBC2, 1983) 
Here
Feynman: THE QUEST FOR TANNU TUVA (BBC2 Horizon, 1988)
Feynman: NO ORDINARY GENIUS (BBC Horizon, 1993), Parts 1 & 2
Bob Dylan, 1986 interview  Here  See his drawing here

 
GOLAN: A Farewell to Mr Cinema

See a TRAILER!

The final chapter in the extraordinary life and career of MENAHEM GOLAN, Palestinian-born Israeli movie director, producer, mogul and 'madman'.
Now in his eighties and living in Jaffa, Golan looks back to his great days in Hollywood, forwards to a new blockbuster starring Al Pacino, and dreams of the Oscar he's always wanted...
This is the third in a trilogy about Golan: the first was THE LAST MOGULS (1987, BBC Omnibus) and the second was SHOOTING VERSACE (1998, BBC Modern Times).
DOCUMENTARY/74 minutes (2015)
Denver International Film Festival, November 2015
Santa Barbara International Film Festival, February 2016
Houston WorldFest, April 2016  Platinum Remi Award for Best Documentary
Los Angeles Jewish Festival, May 2016
Toronto Independent Film Awards (TIFA) Best Feature Documentary 2016


WEB of STORIES

Video life stories online  Here
- Walter Murch, film editor and writer  Soon...
- Eric Kandel, neuroscientist and writer  Here
- Peter Mayer, publisher  Here
- Brian Aldiss, writer  Here
- Desmond Morris, writer and broadcaster  Here
- Frederic Raphael, novelist and screenwriter  Here

- Oliver Sacks, neurologist and writer  Here
- Ken Adam, film
production designer  Here
- Philip Roth, novelist  Here
- Leonard Hayflick, biologist  Here
- Marvin Minsky,
mathematician and computer scientist  Here
- Sherwin Nuland, surgeon and writer  Here
- Jeremy Bernstein, physicist and writer  Here
- 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 Eton housemaster  Here
 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 (2010)
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



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 FOREVER?

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 (2007)   
"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
See it here



MISCHIEF: 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
(2005)
See it here


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 (2004)
See it here


THE NEW FOUNTAIN
(producer 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
(2003)
"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

See it here

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 (2002)
See it here


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 a trailer

DOCUMENTARY /30 mins (2001)

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 (1999)
"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
(1998)
"Profoundly moving" Daily Mail

"Narrated to perfection by Timothy West" The Guardian
See Part One
See Part Two

MODERN TIMES: 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 (1998)  Also THE LAST MOGULS below  See it here
"Hugely entertaining" The Times

"Jaw-dropping...Delicious comedy" Independent

"Brilliant" Evening Standard

"Hilarious" Jewish Chronicle
See it here


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
(1997)
"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

EQUINOX: DO VAMPIRE BATS HAVE FRIENDS?
An exploration of the question of animal awareness and the mystery of consciousness
. See, for example, philosopher Thomas Nagel's famous essay 'What is it like to be a bat?'
and experimental psychologist Nicholas Humphrey's documentary 'The Ghost in the Machine'
Channel 4 EQUINOX Special /60 mins
(1997)
"Genuinely thought-provoking" The Times
See it here


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
(1995)
"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!


HORIZON: 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
(1993)
"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


HORIZON: 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
(1992)
"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

See Part One
See Part Two

OMNIBUS: 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
(1991)
[never broadcast]  See it here

For Voyager Films with ALAN HAYLING 
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
  (1990)
"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
See it here


OMNIBUS: MY MOST DIFFICULT BOOK
VLADIMIR NABOKOV and how he wrote Lolita
 -
with MARTIN AMIS, AS BYATT
and EDMUND WHITE
BBC1 OMNIBUS /60 mins
(1989)
"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
See it here


HORIZON: A WONDERFUL LIFE
A biography of the philosopher LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN 1889-1951
BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins
(1989)
"A dramatic portrait of a truly extraordinary man" Daily Telegraph
"Lucid and beautiful"  The Guardian

See it here


HORIZON: 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
(1988)


EDWARD SAID

Writer, critic and exiled Palestinian

BBC2 EXILES /50 mins
See it here



DISPATCHES: 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 (1987)


OMNIBUS: 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 and his drawing of Christopher Sykes...  

Bob Dylan's complete lyrics here...
BBC1 OMNIBUS /50 mins
See it here 

EQUINOX: LETTERS FROM AN INDIAN CLERK
The romantic story of GH Hardy's relationship with the mathematical genius SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN

Download the full text of Hardy's classic memoir A Mathematician's Apology on which this film is based.
InCA/Channel 4 EQUINOX/WGBH NOVA /60 mins (1987)
See it here


OMNIBUS: THE LAST MOGULS
The Israeli go-go boys, movie mavericks 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 (1986)

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  See it here

6 How like an Angel?

Artifax for Channel 4 / 6 x 60 mins (1986)


ONE PAIR OF EYES: MAKING MISCHIEF
'Pendennis' of The Observer, PETER HILLMORE
, goes in search of hot gossip...
BBC2 /30 mins (1984)

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

BBC2 /30 mins (1984)

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 (1983)


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, total about an hour (1983)

VILLAGERS
Sights and sounds of village India
BBC2 /15 mins (1982)

HORIZON: THE PROFESSOR OF SURGERY
IAN McCOLL, Guys Hospital, London (
and the House of Lords)
BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins (1982)

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 (1982)  See it here





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

BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins (1982)

HORIZON: 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 (1982)

HORIZON: 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 (1982)
See it here


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

BBC2 HORIZON /50 mins (1980)

OPEN SECRET: THE DBCP FILE
A pesticide scandal

BBC1 /30 mins (1980)

OPEN SECRET: FOR FIVE DOLLARS A DAY
Industrial lead poisoning in West Virginia

BBC1 /30 mins (1980)


ARENA: 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 (1980)
See it here


THE CLONE AFFAIR
Investigation of American science journalist DAVID RORVIK's great publishing hoax, a first-hand account of the world's first successful cloning of a human child

THE BBC1 DOCUMENTARY /50 mins (1979)
See it here

OUR PETER
The extraordinary story of an extraordinary Barnsley boy, Peter O'Neill
with RAMSAY SHORT
BBC1 /60 mins (1978)

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

(producer KARL SABBAGH)
BBC1 TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY /50 mins (1977)

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

BBC1 TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY /50 mins

THE CHANGING FACE OF MEDICINE
Medical triumphs and challenges
(producer KARL SABBAGH)
1. Victories
2. Mysteries
BBC1 /50 mins (1975)




christopher dot sykes at gmail dot com

CHRISTOPHER SYKES PRODUCTIONS





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