A seven-part documentary series by The BBC about seven of the boldest engineering projects from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Archival footage and photographs are used to show the real people, while most of the series is covered by actors with their lines adapted from the records of the day.
The seven parts are in order of transmission and on the DVDs:
- The Great Ship - the Great Eastern
- The Brooklyn Bridge
- Bell Rock Lighthouse
- The Sewer King - the London sewers
- The Panama Canal
- The Line - the American transcontinental railroad
- The Hoover Dam
There is also a companion book for the series which goes into greater detail than the 45-minute episodes of the series allow.
Tropes covered by this work:
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Great Eastern, being the only one of the seven projects for which there was no real demand.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dr. Thomas Durant in The Line. The book goes into even more detail about his misdeeds.
- Ignored Expert: Dr. John Snow in The Sewer King, who discovered ample evidence that cholera is spread via water, but was dismissed by health officials who believed it was spread via "miasma".
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: "This film is based on real events. The words the actors speak are adapted from records of the day."