These aren't just conspiracy theories. Expert testimonies and leaked files have shed light on a real, alternative history of the world, and on the events and technologies that shaped our existence without people even being aware of it. Seek out the truth on UKTV Play, our on-demand service, with these five illuminating shows.
Welcome to the world of "black operations", where covert campaigns are waged when the cameras of the media are pointed elsewhere. This series shines a light on some of the most brazen and daring military escapades in modern times, from far-flung war zones to seemingly ordinary urban areas. These include events that have faded from many people's minds, including the Japanese embassy crisis of 1996, when a radical terrorist group stormed a party being thrown by the Japanese ambassador in Peru, taking hundreds of VIPs hostage. What followed was a protracted, nerve-shredding siege, and a daring assault by Peruvian commandos.
Black Ops also reveals the real story of the Black Hawk Down incident, made famous by a blockbuster movie, as well as spilling the details on a now-forgotten 1950s military campaign by the British Army which played a key role in the evolution of the SAS.
Watch Black Ops on UKTV Play
WORLD WAR WEIRD
It may be one of the most chronicled conflicts of all time, but there's a lot you don't know about World War Two. This series sidesteps the more well-known chapters of the war, to give a very different take on the apocalyptic events. Did you know Allied pilots spotted bizarre, radiant orbs in the night sky, which some speculated were a secret Nazi weapon, and others believed to be evidence of alien life? And, speaking of weapons, did you know an army of killer bats was one of the suggested ways to take on the enemy?
Then there's the unlikely story of Stalin's army of "kamikaze dogs", who were dispatched as living bombs to eliminate German soldiers, not to mention the unthinkable Soviet scheme to create warriors who were a cross between humans and apes. Allied ghost armies and the enigma of musician Glenn Miller's disappearance are among the other riddles explored in a series that will forever change your perception of the deadliest war in human history.
Watch World War Weird on UKTV Play
Prepare to question everything you thought you knew, as Jamie Theakston unravels mysteries from across the ages in Forbidden History. What actually happened to the Templar Knights? Who was the real Mary Magdalene? Is there really evidence that giants once roamed our planet? You might think some of it sounds too outlandish to be anything other than a conspiracy theory, until the pieces of the historical jigsaw puzzle are slowly put together.
It's not just about secret organisations such as covert religious groups and the fabled Illuminati. The series also focuses on individuals like Nikola Tesla, one of the most brilliant and mysterious scientists of the modern era, and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Could the official story of his final days, and his execution, actually have been a well-orchestrated lie?
Watch Forbidden History on UKTV Play
WORLD'S WEIRDEST WEAPONS
Strange, outlandish weaponry isn't just the fictitious preserve of James Bond's Q. His real-life counterparts have devised a jaw-dropping array of lethal gizmos and gadgets over the decades, as this series shows. And, while the "flying dustbin" may not sound especially glamorous, it played a key role in the D-Day landings. Discover more about that in World's Weirdest Weapons, which also reveals how the US army came up with the idea of jet-pack soldiers during the 1950s - echoing the visions of the sci-fi B-movies of the era.
You'll learn how drone warfare was born many, many years before you might have realised, and how Adolf Hitler's military scientists hit upon the idea of creating a massive "supergun" to turn the tide of war. And if you didn't think cute little cats could be weaponised, you're in for a surprise.
Watch World's Weirdest Weapons on UKTV Play
Few organisations have aroused as much suspicion and paranoia over the years as the CIA. The remarkable thing, as this series shows, is that the truth is often more dramatic and startling than the most "out-there" conspiracy theories. Take their secret plan to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, by turning his teenage lover into a would-be killer. Or the staggeringly audacious coup d'état which the CIA orchestrated in Guatemala in 1954, leading to the toppling of a democratically elected leader, and the rise of a military dictatorship.
You'll also discover the real events behind the rescue operation in Iran that inspired the Ben Affleck movie Argo, as well as the details of how the Agency tried to track down Bin Laden, in a deadly manhunt that was fictionalised in Zero Dark Thirty.