A Year in Tibet

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5 x 60-minute films for BBC4, in partnership with Seven Stones Media

For the first time, the BBC has been able to film inside Tibet unsupervised by Chinese authorities, to follow the lives of ordinary Tibetans across an extraordinary year. This unprecedented access gives a remarkable insight into the significance of Buddhism in everyday life and the complex and often surprising relationship between Tibetans and the Chinese immigrants who they live and work alongside.

The series is both an intimate observation of a society and a compelling insight into the impact of the Chinese Communist Party on Tibetans’ lives.

Visit http://www.youtube.com for a playlist for the series.

Executive Producer: Adam Alexander and Jeremy Gibson
Producer: Peter Firstbrook
Director: (Location) Sun Shuyun


1/5 The Visit  In the first episode, the Panchen Lama, the highest-ranking Buddhist living in Tibet today, pays a sudden visit to the local monastery and throws the monks into turmoil. For Tsephun, a novice monk, the visit proves to be the most exciting day of his life. In the town, Jianzang, a local hotel owner, is worried about the lack of business. Despite a last-minute panic with blocked pipes in his hotel rooms and an inspection by the local tourist chief, the Panchen’s visit gives him a late-season windfall.

Meanwhile, in the nearby village of Tangmai, Deji, a young farmer’s wife, is rushed into hospital with complications with her pregnancy. Both the doctors and Tseden, the local shaman, work together to try to save her baby.

2/5 Three Husbands and a Wedding  It is autumn in southern Tibet and everyone is pulling together to get in the harvest, in the second episode of this unprecedented series that follows the lives of ordinary Tibetans across an extraordinary year.

Like all farmers, Dundan is worried most about hailstones flattening his crops. In the past, his brother, Tseden, the local shaman, protected the fields with his spells. Now the local government has installed guns to disperse the clouds and this has put Tseden out of a job. In the nearby town of Gyantse, Rincheu, a local builder, struggles to find enough workers during the harvest to complete his all-important first government commission. In the monastery, the monks recover from a hectic visit by the highest-ranking Buddhist Lama in Tibet. After a riotous time celebrating the success of the event, the monks go home to help with the harvest. Meanwhile, Tseden is also helping a local family to arrange their daughter’s wedding. Despite months of preparation, nobody actually gets around to telling the bride she is going to be wed – nor does anybody mention that she is expected to marry her husband’s brother, as well.

Accompanying A Year In Tibet is The Lost World Of Tibet, a one-off documentary which brings together stunning, newly restored film from the Forties and Fifties to show what Tibet was like before China sent in its troops.

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