Professor Richard Fortey travels to some of the greatest fossil sites on earth to discover more about the distant past.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures - Culture of the United Kingdom - Netflix
The culture of the United Kingdom is influenced by the UK's history as a developed state, a liberal democracy and a great power; its predominantly Christian religious life; and its composition of four countries—England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland—each of which has distinct customs, cultures and symbolism. The wider culture of Europe has also influenced British culture, and Humanism, Protestantism and representative democracy developed from broader Western culture. British literature, music, cinema, art, theatre, comedy, media, television, philosophy, architecture and education are important aspects of British culture. The United Kingdom is also prominent in science and technology, producing world-leading scientists (e.g. Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin) and inventions. Sport is an important part of British culture; numerous sports originated in the country, including football. The UK has been described as a “cultural superpower”, and London has been described as a world cultural capital. A global opinion poll for the BBC saw the UK ranked the third most positively viewed nation in the world (behind Germany and Canada) in 2013 and 2014. The Industrial Revolution, which started in the UK, had a profound effect on the family socio-economic and cultural conditions of the world. As a result of the British Empire, significant British influence can be observed in the language, law, culture and institutions of a geographically wide assortment of countries, including Australia, Canada, India, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the United States and English speaking Caribbean nations. These states are sometimes collectively known as the Anglosphere, and are among Britain's closest allies. In turn the empire also influenced British culture, particularly British cuisine. The cultures of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are diverse and have varying degrees of overlap and distinctiveness.
Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures - Politics - Netflix
The UK's two major political parties are the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, who between them won 580 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons at the most recent general election. The Scottish National Party (Scotland only) lost 21 of their seats in the House of Commons from the previous election; they remained the third-largest party by seats held, despite the Liberal Democrats making gains. The remaining seats were won by smaller parties, such as The Green Party; and UKIP lost their sole seat. Regional parties such as Plaid Cymru (Wales), Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Ulster Unionist Party, and Sinn Féin (Northern Ireland) also made gains.
The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world – a legacy of the British Empire. The Parliament of the United Kingdom that meets in the Houses of Parliament has two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords, and any Bill passed requires Royal Assent to become law. It is the ultimate legislative authority in the United Kingdom: the devolved parliaments and assemblies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are not sovereign bodies and could be abolished by the UK Parliament, despite each being established following public approval as expressed in a referendum.
British constitutional documents include Magna Carta (foundation of the “great writ” Habeas corpus — safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action), the Bill of Rights 1689 (one provision granting freedom of speech in Parliament), Petition of Right, Habeas Corpus Act 1679 and Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949. A separate but similar document, the Claim of Right Act, applies in Scotland. Jurist Albert Venn Dicey wrote that the British Habeas Corpus Acts “declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty”. An advocate of the “unwritten constitution”, Dicey stated English rights were embedded in the general English common law of personal liberty, and “the institutions and manners of the nation”. According to 2016 figures from the Ministry of Justice, there is a 35% chance of people in England and Wales being summoned for jury duty over the course of their lifetime. In Scotland the percentage is higher due to Scotland having a lower population as well having juries made up of fifteen people as opposed to twelve in England and Wales.
Other important British political figures include William Blackstone, eighteenth-century jurist, judge and politician best known for his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England, containing his formulation: “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”, a principle that government and the courts must err on the side of innocence, Emmeline Pankhurst, led the suffragettes which helped win women the right to vote, William Wilberforce, leading parliamentary abolitionist, Robert Peel, founded the Conservative party (which was expanded by Benjamin Disraeli), and created the modern police force. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, 19th century philosopher, political economist and politician John Stuart Mill justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.
Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures - References - Netflix