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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 December 2009
A very impressive documentary series charting the Berlin's bloody, magnificent and moving story in 3 parts. This is no lightweight tour guide programme but one that deals with the city's psyche and split personality. It's a bloody, moving and magnificent story deftly presented by Matt Frei.
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on 1 December 2009
Loved the series when it was shown on TV, a very interesting approach towards what must be the most complex, interesting and fascinating city on earth. Instead of telling Berlin's story in chronological order, Matt Frei looks at Berlin from different angles, presenting the concepts and ideas, the architecture and people which (re)shaped the city. In doing so Mr Frei provides us with a compelling inside view. Compulsory viewing for anyone who would like to go and see for themselves.
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on 4 August 2011
Long a home to Germany's (and indeed the world's) artists, rebels and outcasts, Berlin is the place where the 20th century began and ended and is a more than deserving subject for this in-depth (3x1 hour) documentary written and presented by the BBC's Matt Frei.

I must be honest - I'd long appreciated Matt Frei's journalism but had never realised that he was German (his accent gives nothing away even if, on reflection, his surname does...). So who better to guide a British audience through this cleverly constructed narrative of his nation's capital. Indeed you get the feeling that this is a story that Matt Frei has long been waiting to tell, and it's done with enthusiasm, wit and and a profound knowledge of - and feeling for - this great city. The story is told predominantly through weaving together the lives of the city's inhabitants, from those who shaped the course of its history - such as Frederich the Great or Hitler - through to those otherwise ordinary citizens who've been shaped by it, such as those who still recall witnessing Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, or who suffered at the hands of the Red Army in 1945. In each case, big events are seen through small eyes and it was hard not to be moved at the first-hand accounts of holocaust survivors or families carved in two by Berlin Wall, for example.

Part three begins and ends with an elderly woman clinging on to a balcony on the day the Berlin Wall was constructed. Above her, East German police trying to pull her towards Communism, below her West Berliners encouraging her to jump towards the freedom of the capitalist west. It's a fantastic metaphor for Berlin - and Germany - and if you're only even remotely interested in German history or indeed in that of the Cold War or Europe more generally then I cannot recommend this documentary series highly enough. Television history at its very best.
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VINE VOICEon 1 April 2010
Even tough I am living at present in Berlin and actually I am not a big fan of the town
one could fall into love with this city after having watched Matt Frei's take on Berlin.
Lots of think about and maybe to re-evaluate. Definitely a series to watch and a great video.
Matt Frei's presentation is flawless.
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on 27 April 2010
All points of history covered from Frederick the Great to the fall of the Wall. Privileged access gained to such buildings as Templehof airport and the statue on the Brandenburg Gate.

A fascinating documentary series for a fascinating city.
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on 7 February 2010
Great documentary that gave me a new perspective on not just Berlin but on German history. Matt Frei delivers it with passion, empathy, knowledge and insight. Anyone with interest in this city with its brutal and fascinating history and its influence on Germany and mayby, indeed, the rest of the world is highly recommended to watch this. BBC keeps setting the standard for brilliant documentaries.
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on 25 February 2010
A fascinating and erudite exposition of Berlin's recent history made by a journalist with a real enthusiasm for the subject.
I am a great lover of Berlin,and consider it the most interesting and beautiful city I have visited,so I was bound to relish the series. Satisfyingly, Matt Frei shows the very aspects of it's history and architecture which fascinate me and which I would use to illustrste Berlin's appeal to a stranger.
So often when the viewer knows a little of a subject,the perfunctory nature of the journalism on offer is disappointingly obvious,but here the knowledge and understanding shine through . The structure of what is a quite short series seems well thought out,and the emphasis on the different historical strands well balanced .
Berlin fascinates because it contains the full story of the 20th. century - war ,revolution, the rise of Fascism,utopian planning, advances in science and art, the Cold War and the collapse of Communism,and now the pan-European project. Frei illustrates all these aspects,bringing them to life with well chosen interviews and archive film.
This is a gem of a programme,a tribute to informed journalism, and represents the best of the BBC .( Hard to believe this is the same organisation which tortures us with Strictly Come Dancing and The Weakest Link.)
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on 11 February 2010
Congratulations Matt Frei!!Excellent series! It captured all my memories of Berlin as a city which has contiually reinvented itself and of a cosmopolitan people who, inspite of their horrendous historical past at times, have proved so resiliant: it's down to their sense of humour and sense of self-worth and civic pride. Go there if you can ( and dine at Dressler's on Unter den Linden!!)
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on 30 March 2010
A really fantastic documentary of Berlin and its history. An eye opener as to the legacy of the past, in particular of WWII. Well made and enjoyable to watch again and again.
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on 18 November 2011
A very easy to watch and informative overview of Berlin's history, if you are thinking of visiting the city I would grab and watch this in advance.
The narrator has an easy to listen to vice and the narrative has been very well written , photography is what you expect from BBC first rate in every respect.
I saw this on TV a year or two ago and enjoyed seeing it again, hope to be back to Berlin next year and will watch this once or twice in advance.
Excellent
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