Filthy Cities

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Ratings: 8.41/10 from 39 users.

Storyline

Filthy CitiesDan Snow gets down and dirty in the murky histories of London, Paris and New York, exploring their filthy histories from the bottom up.

Medieval London. State of the art CGI reveals London's streets as they were 700 years ago and Dan steps into the shoes of a medieval Londoner - wooden platforms designed to help him rise above the disgusting mess underfoot.

He spends the night as a medieval muck-raker shifting a staggering six tonnes of excrement, and has a go at medieval butchery to find out what the authorities were up against.

Revolutionary Paris. Stinking streets where ordinary people slaved in toxic industries and suffered grotesque poverty and disease. Dan immerses himself in their world, visiting a perfumer to recreate the stench of the 18th century city - Pong de Paris.

He has a go at one of the worst jobs in history - tanning leather by 18th century methods using dog excrement and urine - to make exquisite luxury goods that only the filthy rich could afford.

Industrial New York. Dan Snow travels back to a seething Manhattan in the throes of the industrial revolution. Millions fled persecution, poverty and famine in Europe in the 19th century in search of the Promised Land. When they arrived what they found was even worse than what they'd left behind.

New York was a city consumed by filth and corruption, its massive immigrant population crammed together in the slums of Lower Manhattan.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • His Forever

    Add Manila to your list, please! One of the worst I've ever personally seen. Sad but true.

    P.S. No time to stay and read--busy days for the whole month!

  • bcbingram

    Thanks

  • PaulGloor

    A minute and a half in and I can already tell I probably shouldn't be eating while watching this :P

  • Guest

    Yuk, somebody turn it off...... when its over :)

  • PavolvsBitch

    There is no way people would choose to 'live' in such squalor and I take issue with the the sloppy vagaraies such as 'opportunity, money, fame' as to why such a small area became so choked in effluence to fuel the affluent. Could it not be that a fair proportion were driven off their lands into the arena, were released prisoners with no option other than to settle or were indeed in the main, slaves or 'indentured servants' within the labyrinth of wealthy City of London Freemasons? But let's focus on the revolting realities of naked greed and social experimentation in the form of the citysewage; all cities are sewers. Chronic overcrowding and filth are effective measures of behavioural and population control.

  • PavolvsBitch

    ah yes, let's hail more research into a vaccine to immunise against the black death. utter tosh, it's down to hygiene.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PKRZXLGBPC7TWEAT3SGGQDVBJ4 smithie

    I guess you'd be amazed at what a big percent of folks live, in the nicest of houses, in filth. My job includes fixing peoples homes so they are liveable again- I've seen and smelled places that are on par with pig stys and these are nurses, medical students and teachers, etc. Dirty, dirty, dirty.

  • greyspoppa

    Visited New Orleans bout 96'-97'ish, the French Quarter was as nasty of a place as I've encountered anywhere.

  • Dancing Horses

    Paris is still disgusting. Dog sh*t in the streets, everywhere.

  • adilrye

    Wow, a 2,000 year old city. That's just so cool to me. The same streets the Romans built are being walked on today by contemporary Brits. Of course, the city I call home is like 219 years old or something. I just find it amazing how much history there is, even if it's quite dirty.

    This reminds me of Toronto when the street cleaners went on strike. A hot, smelly and dirty summer that was, I remember. Not exactly walking in animal entrails and sh*t, but I guess we got a little sense of it :P

  • drinker69

    I love filth. I love squalor. I love dirt. I love the non-biodegradeable despair of human slime that we all have become. Someone flush my soul so I may bathe in eternal excreta.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Xercès-Des-Stèles/100002540053129 Xercès Des Stèles

    very interesting how napoleon came to the rescue of the poor people by redesigning a less filthy city, only to be better at stopping possible future revolutions.

  • wheelnut53

    another one of my questions were answered

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000631933465 Fecioru Florin

    This documentary is full of cr*p.

  • Guest

    Happily not every body has an English Mastiff.
    az

  • adilrye

    Uh...okay.

  • adilrye

    I love this series! Please make more!! There are so many cities and time periods he could do...

  • http://www.facebook.com/ElmoPutz David Foster

    This one should get a high spot on the must see list.

  • kchapmans

    Excellent videos!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YL3HXAA6BCEFURRKPFLAJMDZJA Ali

    fantastastic vedeos

  • monkeyseatpoo

    It's so true, I've help my aunty to do up a flat from a young nurse and there was sh*t all over the walls and sick in all the carpet, it stunk so bad and just thought u wouldn't want her touching u if u had seen this :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    One bit of advice. Do not watch while having a nice meal and a weak stomach. We humans can be quite disgusting and the BBC doesn't hold back.

  • Charlotte86

    Mmmm about to cook dinner. Let's watch!

  • Achems_Razor

    @Charlotte86:

    Right, these are good docs to eat by, I was having spaghetti and meatballs. lol

  • ThePhilhw

    Why is he being punished like this ???
    He must have really pissed off the senior echelons of the beeb.........
    Shagged the DG's wife ???

    Great documentary...........

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689912261 John Christopher McDonald

    Fantastic dinner conversation, as I also ate whilst watching this.

  • Jacob On Tour

    This is truly disgusting! In my hometown, a street now named after a flower, had up until a century ago, kept its medieval name, which literaly was "Shitstreet".

  • LIVEFROMLIMBO

    i enjoyed watchin these ones!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roberts-Cerbulis/100001853761102 Roberts Cerbulis

    I was having spaghetti also. I wanted to find some nice doc to eat by :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2507877 Jeremy Boulat

    man... japan is so much cleaner than this... today and yesterday... i mean come on! europeans really had dirty habbits... you do realize that the aztecs had running water? That Filipinos bathed weekly in the 15th century? That Egyptians had outdoor latrines?

  • L0LAW0NKA

    Dirty. Everything is dirty. But they should really focus on those cities who don't care about public health regulations. Go to a third world country and then complain about New York. Trust me, NY is not that bad in comparison to South America.

  • http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/about/ Vlatko

    @L0LAW0NKA,

    Why I think you didn't watch the documentary. It's about how those cities looked like in the past.

  • jameshand

    pooooo what a ponyg stink that must have been..lol

  • vvindred

    damn :)))) i was also eating :)))))

  • Godsclaws

    great docos! Well made, interesting and informative, and I liked the narrator/host

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001382410123 Rich Mc

    Very interesting to see what can develop from dirt!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002572144606 Hamza Ibrahim

    that just put me of my lunch

  • Sam

    hehe! That was hilarious to find out!

  • Sam

    awesome docs! I really like the host and it was interesting to hear where so many names we are so familiar with came from.

  • Sudsy Susie Brownn

    my god i am so grateful i wasn't alive then...how gross and disgusting it was to be a human in that era! no bathing constant filth putrid odors! every aspect of life was nasty. And to think i was upset over my toilet backing up last week i was so disgusted by it i wanted to cry...jeez! this is an interesting documentary but so so gross

  • Sudsy Susie Brownn

    omg! watched all three of these episodes..now i feel an extreme need to take a long hot bath!

  • http://www.facebook.com/monique.pigeon Monique Pigeon

    Wow, couldn't make it through London. I gaged at least 3 times and was starting to get phantom smells.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harriet.leeck Harriet Leeck

    Very informative, I thought, and thoufght without reservation ....:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tanzanos-Eleytheros/100002217607141 Tanzanos Eleytheros

    Thanks for the doc! :)

  • http://twitter.com/OughtThoughts Ought Thoughts

    Remember, after it rained, that wormy smell in the air? We have five senses, and often miss a fuller appreciation for life in the past because we tend to experience our walk into history through the sense of our eyes (reading, looking at pictures); we can even recreate the sights and sounds in movies...but we haven't been able to really experience the feel, the touch of rough materials, the rhythmic bump of riding horseback, or of a wagon on wooden wheels over rough ground; of beds made of straw covered in burlap...and we haven't begun to experience the smells - dewy meadows, horses, animals, no mouthwash, toothpaste, antiperspirant, cologne, after-shave, shampoo...

    This series really reinforces that smell was a major part of the experience of living in these times.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7ZY3KOJW3NKBXSWNBEAIU57MFE Rob Riddell

    sure it was filthy but at least there was less toxic chenicals that never existed before humans fucked with nature

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Dempsey/552338058 Jack Dempsey

    My wife and I stayed at a B&B in Brooklyn NY one weekend. At night, we were appalled to see hordes---I mean, hordes---of fat RATS running the streets at will, 40 and 50 in a pack swarming down the sidewalks amid huge piles of uncollected trash and fetid garbage. People just ignored them, but it seemed clear that bubonic plague is going to find a nice new place to breed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.hendershot Carl Franklin Hendershot

    The river looks like hell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.hendershot Carl Franklin Hendershot

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.ferrara.568 Sam Ferrara

    How do you get all three to play? I can only get the first one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.ferrara.568 Sam Ferrara

    Don't worry!.... I got it!
    Der....

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.ferrara.568 Sam Ferrara

    Oh my god!! I was there! I went to the Tenement Museum in New York and he's in the same tenement we visited! Now THAT'S cool!
    This series is fantastic. I've loved every one of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elissa.sangi Elissa Sangi

    ya and this same filth, the monarchy remains born and bred.

  • fixintheworld

    nyc streets are extreme filthy too numerous to name streets it is demand her majesty block these streets of nyc from humans walking down the inhabitable filth even if for 14 secs,intolerable 2013. Massive filthy garbage trucks run around day and nite all parts of city refuse to clean their trucks. There is no excuse for this vile,some report extreme tenant buildings cause, yes i am sure send fetid air into streets too. Yet if rents are on average 3,000 usd then % of those rents should be spent on common sense water soap detergent,pinesol pour to streets. It is most fault owners who insist poor leave,got what they want now,said want this place only for themselvea cause millionaires,zillionaires,billionaires- it is their own backyard they keep filthy then the result. If insist they should reward every one make under 13,000 an additional 7,000 for moving into cleaner state which should have right,not wanted there in first place. Those who make efforts stay clean,showers are betrayed by the filthy trash collection vehicles. Why should one be doled out senseless possible death for few secs drive pass by humans. Its ironic the way they clean is the killer filth contaminating with more germs. If you run away it is impossible to know which direction street. as it may be even more fetid worse fleeing point. Mott street is so filthy it should be banned from the song about nyc. Perhaps the millionaires mostly jewish should go home to israel the land god promised them because they refuse to clean their own backyards. Its not just occupy it is whole neighborhoods. You have to cross out the streets on your google maps and it is endless even though 11 miles long. It is offensive to any johnny appleseed which i am and a grievous wrong of tenants (if they tried to solve problem nothing should go against it)landlords because they put profit first when it should be about decent housing for everybody. When rents were 40 usd tenants led stuctured lives and did disciplined arts which could afford because rents were minimal. If zillionaires have even one revolting impossible street then maybe should give back to indians. Who say they respect mother earth. Maybe rent will be even lower than $40 or just an old subway token. If they have to zillionaires should devote 25% of their income to task clean. Cleaning workers are stupid not cleaning sinks source of water. And angry young immigrants spit on the floor. The city next to Trump hotel closed down car wash which is few blocks from trash collection vehicles parkspace. i gave them warning years before shutdown carwash. That celebrity Jennifer Connely protest6ed and it is many celebrites nearby the trash colection lots Trump hotel. That is street trash collection vehicles embark rest of city. What excuse they had not to drive through very near car wash first or use bleach on their trucks. Sometimes more lethal than the abhorrent revolting filth. Millionaries have caused high rents and caused homelessness. Should be punished and homes given back. Homeless should be a banned word cause it was created by others who made them homelesss. To file a clean idea it cost $300 and too needy necessities which everyone should have.

    Maybe trump hotel enough power even win presidency while at it if cleaned up city. They could have barricaded the way starting point of trash vehicles begin demand not pass til went through car wash,yet heedless paid no attention even laughed while car wash opportunity was there even when told,it was there since 80 maybe even earlier a key role to send trash vehicles through car wash never did now closed as said. Isn't trump rich enough to make a barricade no unclean vehicle to go into beyond neighborhoods to choke the streets from west to east. That would have proved vital solution human.

    God has promised the jewish persons they could go home to promised land is already returned fullfilled prophesy so have no reason even to be here like in Lord of the Rings it is greed that caused those mostrous monsters i am sure they were smelly. Greed the cause to stay when pre ordained prayers answered and could go home is a heinous crime deed unspeakable to create this squalor that is foul smells not just the tolerant sut and grit of yore,i read recent ad charging $6,000 a nite for tenement walk up,in a highly polluted neighborhood, Native indians said they charged no rent or wanted rent it was a basic human right to share land,clean air and water at no price. That the earth was a supporting great spirit. Home is not a product and it is illegitimate to take away.
    Maybe they could do better the chosen native americans to adhere this value say not ever given up. To be fair though reality is i met one indian atrocious take no baths.. Not trust any smelly person who made the postal office stench unsanctified may be more syrian than native,only native i met so fierce of bad smells, making bad smells. A womanl said even in yoga classes it smells disgusting.

  • fixintheworld

    maybe yet forced take Mott S total catastrophe due did not want walk by filth in air spread by trash collection vehicles' direction, A family cry out almost home home so be very careful. You are only to go 1 block even cab can't help. If only 1 block stretch even more revolting. Raining hard thunder lightning not enough to help make a dent. Need least 40 days of flooding hard rain,open up fire hydrants also while at it. You have to wash hair within 1 minute flat afterwards,arms change clothing,use eyewash,listerine etc dread emergency immediately open 31 vents 3 fans to help. Yet this city is so stupid condem a garden of beautful flowers say and do nothing abou trash collection vehicles effective to destroy air every direction.

    Why can't afford soap first defence richest city in world?
    Some say unique fault of tenant buildings yet if every tenant live here would not put up with conditions,no way could happen. Could even insist vehicles power wash.

    yes, history says nyc would do nothing about having filthy water in 1800's. United states found it revolting changed it
    successfully has good water,resevoir. Water is ok,air is now the unspeakable damage.

  • fixintheworld

    Unfortunantely smallpox hospital is abandoned long ago in ruins sitting middle of e. river by FDR drive 23rd st. Apparrently smallpox was cured is why hospital been forsaken. What is cause of smallbox dirty polluted living conditions so if you don't remove real cause once forever then the disease may come back and is not cured.
    .

  • fixintheworld

    thanks i have not watched it period. hear it while typing. If queen england can help?

  • fixintheworld

    believe it ot not travesty continued by lost literature rights. Charles Dickens lost his writings in nyc caused so much grievous outcome.
    i get title in a minute.

  • roxanne

    i was shocked to see this guy handling the ancient documents w/o gloves on...

  • gaboora

    The influence of filth is exaggerated a little. But this series taught me a lot. I had no idea that cities used to be that filthy. This doc is educational, grisly, and sometimes funny. I would watch it again.

  • Jacek Walker

    New York was corrupted? Was? Ok. So now it is surely a shining example of a decent harmonious society...
    Disgusting picture of filth combined with greed. I can't find any other explanation than greed and indifference as to why people could stay in such a squalor for lives. Ready to bear any inhuman conditions only to make their suspicious profits usually from cheating, conning, lying...
    Looks like all that dirt outside refects exactly the inner of the soul.
    Most of them simply didn't mind living like pigs as long as there were some money to be made around. Or were they so busy that they coudn't find time to bring down a bucket of crap downstairs instead of pouring it down out of a window onto someone else's head?

  • amelia9999999

    this is reallY good

  • response 88888

    Yeah, I noticed that as well. This documentary came on Netflix. The show was real interesting and enjoyable until that vaccine propaganda bit was thrown in. They just couldn't give improved living conditions and better hygiene the credit for reduction in disease. Nope. The industries funding these films just won't hear of it.
    It's really too bad so much entertainment today is corporate propaganda in disguise. You really have to pay close attention to catch it sometimes, because they're getting more clever each time.

  • Harry-david Sayers

    Dan Snow.. well done mate.. great work.. .. i've never been so grossed out in my life .. please dont let our cities get like that again.. austerity begets filth .. I dont want london to become a filthy place ever....