Politics documentaries

Stream a range of BBC documentaries that explore global politics and that provide expert analysis and insights from those close to the story. From accounts of the 20th century's pivotal political events to biographies of modern political figures, BBC Select brings you documentaries about the politics that shape our world.

Thatcher & Reagan

Stream Thatcher and Reagan on BBC Select

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher helped to create the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the USA. Despite differing personalities, they forged a very close bond. But what lay behind their mutual attraction?

In this fascinating Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan documentary, biographer Charles Moore uses eyewitnesses and secret papers to get under the skin of the Thatcher and Reagan dynamic.

How did the relationship between the UK’s ‘Iron Lady’ and America’s avuncular, charismatic President develop? In this captivating Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher documentary, official biographer Charles Moore investigates a friendship which altered the course of world history. Was it ideology, personality or something else that cemented their burgeoning alliance? Did the close ties between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan accelerate the end of the Cold War and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union? This fascinating BBC history documentary looks at the triumphs, and conflicts, between the two world leaders. How did this very special relationship shape the world as we see it today?

Kissinger: Statesman or War Criminal?

Stream Kissinger: Statesman or War Criminal? on BBC Select

BBC Select gets political as this incisive documentary offers a sobering portrait of Henry Kissinger, quite possibly the most powerful US diplomat during the latter half of the 20th Century.

Revealing the true character of this complex man, this eye-opening political documentary presents Kissinger’s responses to criticisms of his controversial foreign policy decisions.

Should Kissinger be celebrated or castigated?

Philippa Gregory's The Real White Queen And Her Rivals

The dynastic conflict known as the War of the Roses was steeped in treason and bloodshed. Three remarkable women were at the very center of this pivotal moment in English history. Bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents an emotional portrait of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen, Margaret Beaufort, the Red Queen and Anne Neville, wife of Richard III, one of England’s most notorious kings.

Ep 1: Women of Ambition
Three powerful, ambitious women were integral to Britain’s brutal War of the Roses. The brutal and bloody dynastic conflict known as the War of the Roses tore medieval England apart. Acclaimed author Philippa Gregory delves into the lives of three remarkable women at the heart of the conflict: The White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville and her rivals Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. To what extent did these powerful, ambitious women influence this pivotal point in English history?

Ep 2: Power Games
Who was the commoner who enchanted a king and became one of England’s most powerful women? Powerful, driven women were decisive figures in the brutal medieval conflict known as the War of the Roses. Author Phillipa Gregory profiles these women whose influence was as vital as the kings and nobles of this dynastic feud. Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen, was a commoner whose beauty enchanted a King but then struggled to hold a grip on the throne for herself and her children.

The Good Drug? The History, Politics, and Science of Psychedelics

The good drug

Can psychedelic substances herald a new era for medicine and health? This fascinating documentary investigates our historical, societal, and scientific relationship with psychedelics. Could these mind-altering materials initiate a modern renaissance for clinical research and can their therapeutic properties be used to eradicate a host of mental health problems?

Turkey: The Rise of Erdogan's Empire

Turkey: Rise of Erdogans Empire

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown into a political giant, reshaping Turkey more than any leader in recent times. This fascinating political documentary charts his rise from humble roots to a powerful, controversial ruler. How did he reach such heady heights, what methods has he used to quell dissent, what controversies have dogged his regime and how far is he willing to go to hang onto power?

EP 1: Rise To Power
The early political life of Erdogan including imprisonment and a remarkable comeback.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the most powerful rulers in Turkish history. But where did he come from? This fascinating documentary charts his rise from the popular mayor of Istanbul to a period in prison and banishment from political life. He soon reversed this ban and became a pioneering Prime Minister. But after 10 years of rule, a massive protest movement threatened to topple his government.

Ep 2: Facing Dissent
Erdogan cracks down hard on dissent, becoming the most powerful leader of modern Turkey.

After a decade in office Erdogan, once a popular ruler in Turkey, now faced a massive protest movement, coupled with a corruption scandal. This compelling political documentary looks at how Erdogan quashed dissent and consolidated his power, eventually becoming President. But soon a violent coup would put his life in danger. How would Erdogan survive this latest attempt to oust him from office?