Skip to content

OU on the BBC: Empire - Doing Good

Updated Tuesday 20th March 2012

How did a high-minded mission to improve the world end up in aparthied and bloodshed? Jeremy Paxman concludes his tour of Empire by examining ideals and defeat.

A statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town Creative commons image Icon barbourians under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license A statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town In the final part of his personal account of Britain's empire, Jeremy Paxman tells the extraordinary story of how a desire for conquest became a mission to improve the rest of mankind, especially in Africa, and how that mission shaded into an unquestioning belief that Britain could - and should - rule the world.

In Central Africa, he travels in the footsteps of David Livingstone who, though a failure as a missionary, became a legendary figure - the patron saint of empire who started a flood of missionaries to the so-called 'Dark Continent'.

In South Africa, Paxman tells the story of Cecil Rhodes, a man with a different sort of mission, who believed in the white man's right to rule the world, laying down the foundations for apartheid.

The journey ends in Kenya, where conflict between white settlers and the African population brought bloodshed, torture and eventual withdrawal.

Empire is a co-production between The Open University and the BBC.

Empire: Doing Good is first shown on BBC One in England and Northern Ireland on Monday 26th March 2012; further broadcast details and links to watch online can be found at bbc.co.uk.

More about the series

Get your free poster...

... and book your invite to the event of the centuries

 

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

How does rugby provide a focus for South African unity? Creative commons image Icon Government ZA under CC-BY-ND licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

How does rugby provide a focus for South African unity?

In a nation which struggles to agree on much, rugby provides common ground, says Kathryn Nel.

Article
OU on the BBC: Empire - A Taste For Power Creative commons image Icon Kate's Photo Diary under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Empire - A Taste For Power

In the first of Jeremy Paxman's personal views of empire, he explores how Britain took power - and held on to it - throughout so much of the world.

Article
Hopes of a host nation Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Sputh Africa Tourist Board / Neil Bradfield article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Hopes of a host nation

Kath Woodward explores how the hopes of South Africa will be lifted by the World Cup.

Article
OU Lecture 2008: Enough of global integration? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team audio icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU Lecture 2008: Enough of global integration?

In the final part of his lecture, Professor Kaplinsky wonders if the world is integrated enough, already.

Audio
10 mins
OU Lecture 2008: The early years Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team audio icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU Lecture 2008: The early years

In the first segment of his lecture, Professor Raphael Kaplinsky explains how growing up in South Africa helped shape the way he sees the world.

Audio
10 mins
Reith 2007: Bursting at the Seams - Poverty in the Midst of Plenty Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Reith 2007: Bursting at the Seams - Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

Raphael Kaplinsky responds to the 2007 Reith lecture by Jeffery Sachs on 'Poverty in the Midst of Plenty'

Article
OU on the BBC: Bang Goes The Theory 5 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Bang Goes The Theory 5

More weird and wonderful science from Bang Goes The Theory Series 5: including why we haven't yet cured cancer, turning scrap into gold, measuring the earth's circumference with a couple of sticks, a memory boot camp, a potential global helium shortage, nuclear power - and much more.

Article
Coming up on the BBC Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Dreamstime article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Coming up on the BBC

Coming soon to a TV and radio near you: highlights of upcoming programmes co-produced by the OU and the BBC.

Article
LearningSpace: Our top ten - January 2012 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Marek Uliasz | Dreamstime.com article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

LearningSpace: Our top ten - January 2012

 What LearningSpace units have users been accessing this month?

Article