If, like me, you love a bit of history and enjoy a good documentary, then the BBC’s latest announcement is sure to get you very excited. They’ve just revealed the trailer for the long-awaited, epic series Civilisations.
The mammoth nine-hour long series charts the entirety of human culture from the earliest cave markings in South Africa 80,000 years ago to the present day. And it’s fronted by a stellar team of art historian Simon Schama, classicist Mary Beard and historian David Olusoga.
Here’s the trailer for the show which will air on BBC Two this spring:
Speaking about the show, Simon Schama said: “We live in a time of raw power, the swagger of money, brutal poverty and hard reckonings; precisely the moment when it can’t be bad to contemplate again the most enthralling things that human creativity can achieve, because, for the most part, they are our common possession.
“Look at the crowds thronging any great art show from one end of the world to the other and you know that it is felt as much a necessity as the air we breathe and the food we eat.
“All we and the BBC have done with Civilisations is to answer to that need as richly as we can. It’s taken three years of thinking, writing, filming and editing, every shoot, every encounter with great art, a daunting challenge and an immense satisfaction. We hope you enjoy the feast.”
Mary Beard added: “It has been a really exciting (and, I confess, humbling) experience to work as part of the Civilisations team. I hope that people will be dazzled by the wonderful works of art we have been able to show; but even more I hope that the programmes will prompt all kinds of discussions and debates about what we now think ‘civilisation’ is… and our stake in the very idea of it.”
David Olusoga said: “When I was growing up on a council estate my family didn’t have the money to visit galleries or museums, but my mother was able to open up the worlds of art and culture to me through documentaries on the BBC, programmes that broadened my horizons and transformed my view of the world. Civilisations is the next chapter in that tradition of TV with the power to change lives.”
The title is a reference to Civilisation, the series written and presented by Kenneth Clark almost 50 years ago. That landmark offered one man’s personal view of western European civilisation, from the end of the Dark Ages onwards. It was partly conceived by David Attenborough, then controller of BBC Two, to demonstrate the potential of colour television.
Simon Schama presents five of the nine programmes in the new series, taking us from Paleolithic cave painting to the studio of contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer. David Olusoga employs his expertise in Empire and military history to look at the relationships between global cultures and at the notion of Progress. Meanwhile, Mary Beard will take in Greek and Roman history but also material from China, India and Mexico.
Sign us up because we can’t wait to sink our teeth into this new show!