Filthy Cities

Stream Filthy Cities on BBC Select

Do you have to dodge the contents of bedpans or step over rotting filth on your way to work? This was once a daily, dirty, occurrence in the great cities of the world. Historian Dan Snow delves into the murky past of London, Paris and New York and excavates their grimy secrets in truly gruesome detail. Using state-of-the-art CGI, all the dirt, mess and unpleasantness are revoltingly revealed.

Watch Filthy Cities and more acclaimed documentaries on BBC Select today. Restrictions apply*.

Filthy Cities on BBC Select

Episode 1: Medieval London
The sheer amount of sludge and excrement festering in the streets of London 700 years ago is hard to conceive.

Historian Dan Snow foolishly decides to spend the night as a medieval muckraker shifting a staggering six tonnes of waste. Medieval Londoners were forced to mount wooden platforms to avoid the disgusting mess underfoot, but Dan discovers the modern city was built on this filth.

Episode 2: Revolutionary Paris
At the time of the French Revolution, Paris was one of the foulest smelling cities in Europe.

Historian Dan Snow immerses himself in this world, recreating the city’s stench and trying one of the worst jobs in history: tanning leather using dog excrement and urine. Stunning CGI reveals the stinking streets where ordinary people slaved in toxic industries and suffered grotesque poverty.

Episode 3: New Stinking York
Historian Dan Snow travels back to a seething Manhattan in the throes of the industrial revolution.

Millions fleeing persecution in Europe arrived to find a New York consumed by filth and corruption. This massive immigrant population was crammed together in disease-ridden slums with some forced to cook with clothes dye and floor cleaner to disguise the stench of fetid, rotting meat.

BBC Select free trial

BBC Select is available on Amazon Prime Video Channels and the Apple TV app for only $6.99 a month. Start a 7-day free trial and watch a range of acclaimed documentaries from the BBC and beyond. Restrictions apply*.