Conclusion. Britons lead Europe's "Scramble for Africa" during the final two decades of Victoria's reign. Profiled here: Gen. Charles "Chinese" Gordon and Cecil Rhodes. Gordon, a "muscular" Christian, according to narrator Donald Sutherland, who died fighting Muslims in the Sudan in 1885 while Rhodes, a colossus in southern Africa in the 1890s sparked the Boer War, and was perhaps imperialism personified.
"Moral Crusade" (Part 3 of four) recalls what narrator Donald Sutherland calls the "titanic struggle for the heart and soul" of the empire during the middle years of Victoria's reign (1837-1901). The political combatants: the Liberal leader William Gladstone and Tory Benjamin Disraeli. Victoria's idealistic husband, Prince Albert, approved of Gladstone's "moral vision," but he died in 1861.
"Passage to India" (Part 2) covers the 1850s. Britain, says narrator Donald Sutherland, was "on top of the world," and some 16 million Britons left home to make their mark on it or impose their country's "civilizing mission" (or both).
"Engines of Change" (Part 1 of four) recalls the first three decades of the British monarch's life (1819-1901), which coincided with "the birth of the modern world," says narrator Donald Sutherland. "Steam," he adds, "was the genie of the modern age, and it was the British who let it out of the bottle." Victoria, who ascended the throne at age 18, was no techie, but her German-born husband, Prince Albert, was.
Premise: Four-hour biography of the British monarch (1819-1901) who reigned over 'the widest empire in the history of the world' and lent her name to an era that saw 'the birth of the modern world.'