Secrets of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City
Our characters
Hai Shou eulogy
Nanjing falls
Yongle arrives
Fang Xiaoru is executed
Re-writing history
Eunuchs & Concubines
The great timbers
Lady Cui's first night
Yongle's lament

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Documentary Feature (2008) – BBC2, The History Channel
dir. Mark Lewis | prod. Stephan Boje | edit. Karin Steininger
Lion Television

  • Best Music for a Documentary nominee, APRA-AGSC Screen Music Awards (2008)

The extraordinary true story behind the building of the largest palace on earth, The Forbidden City in Beijing

What the Critics have said...

“Strewn across the gleaming black floor of the imperial harem like blood-stained butterflies pinned to a board, the beautiful young concubines in Beijing’s Forbidden City appeared at first to be sleeping, but the crimson pools of blood around their silken robes told a different story.”. – Daily Mail, 03 May 2008

“It was an epic undertaking. The Forbidden City in Beijing, built by Yongle, the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, is the largest palace in the world. It covers 190 acres – five times the size of Buckingham Palace – and has 9,000 rooms. One million people were involved in its construction. This documentary, which is sexed up with the usual Gilbert and Sullivan-style dramatisations, tells the story of this magnificent and merciless endeavour. It seems an unimaginable achievement – until you consider that half the world’s steel and one third of its concrete are being used to transform modern-day Beijing. Then, as now, with the help of a centralised economy and a one-party state, the Chinese don’t mess around.”. – Times OnLine, 10 May 2008