Some were bloody, others absurd and doomed. The British Isles has been invaded continually over thousands of years. In this fascinating documentary series, intrepid historian Sam Willis investigates the history of Britain’s invasions. From Barbary pirates and brutal border raids to the air attacks of the 20th century, these invasions have shaped modern Britain and made the country we see today.

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

Invasion on BBC Select

Ep 1: Romans, Vikings and Celts

From the Vikings, Romans and Neolithic hordes, early invasion attempts could be brutal.

As an island nation, Britain has suffered the threat of invasion throughout its history. In this illuminating documentary, historian Sam Willis looks at the early attempts to invade, including the brutality of Neolithic warfare and the struggles that the Roman legions faced. Along the way, Sam fells a tree with a flint axe, gets to grips with a Viking boat and rides in an Iron Age chariot.

Ep 2: Pirates, Kings, and Imposters

The story of a French king who was invited to invade and a Dutch imposter to the throne.

Britain continued to be invaded during the Middle Ages and Medieval period. As historian Sam Willis reveals in this engrossing documentary, Barbary pirates tried to attack the nation and French king Louis the Lion was invited to invade by plotting nobles. While perhaps one of the most audacious invasion attempts was by the Dutch imposter Perkin Warbeck, who claimed he was a famous prince.

EP 3: Forts, Nazis,and Balloons

Was there really an ingenious French plan to invade Britain via a hot air balloon?

Attempts to invade Britain continued into the modern era, including some audacious plans. In this remarkable documentary, historian Sam Willis reveals an ingenious French endeavor to invade Britain by balloon and a subterranean fortress built for
troops in the 19th century when invasion paranoia was at fever pitch. How have all these invasion efforts shaped the British psyche?

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*.