Seven Ages Of Britain on BBC One

Written and presented by David Dimbleby

The story of our nation told through its treasures on BBC One

David Dimbleby charts a landmark history of Britain’s greatest art and artefacts over 2,000 years, in Seven Ages Of Britain.

The seven-part series of 60-minute programmes, shot in HD, begins at 9.00pm on Sunday 31 January 2010.

An arts commission in partnership with The Open University, Seven Ages Of Britain looks at our extraordinary past through the arts – both as treasures, that have often played a decisive part in events, and as marvels of their age.

From painted images and monuments of stone and gold to religious relics, weapons of war, instruments of science and works of art; often they are artefacts of great beauty and craftsmanship, but sometimes they are simple, everyday things, which have a powerful story to tell.

Over the seven programmes, David Dimbleby roams far and wide – including Italy, Germany, Turkey, India and America – tracking down astonishing artefacts that both encapsulate events or originate from the UK, and yet ended up leaving our shores.

Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, said: “The Seven Ages Of Britain is a hugely ambitious arts series for BBC One.

“David brings the subject matter alive with journalistic endeavour and a twinkle in his eye.”

In Britain or abroad, The Seven Ages Of Britain is a journey revealing treasures of great beauty and craftsmanship that tell us who we were and are, and that pay testament to the great events that formed our nation.

David Dimbleby said: “Seven Ages Of Britain has proved an exhilarating quest.

“The television camera offers a spectacular view of some of our most precious national treasures. It allows us to see them in ways beyond the reach of the human eye as we tell the story of our country’s history over 2,000 years through the art we have created in good times and bad.”

Dr Rachel Gibbons, Academic Consultant for The Open University, commented: “Seven Ages Of Britain is our social and cultural history, telling the story of the nation and its peoples through art and artefacts, through the precious treasures and the everyday objects created in Britain.

“Each of these objects and artefacts is evidence of the society in which it was produced. They all have value to historians for what they can tell us about our ancestors and how we, as a society, have become who we are now.”

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  • Robert Bruce

    2000 years of Britain, eh? Anglo-Saxons, our culture, eh?
    No Picts, Celts or Gaels?
    What country was Dimblebore on about was it really England he meant?
    A complete shambles of a program. Historically and factually ridiculous, more like a comedy by Monty Python.

  • Mike

    The first program says the four figures on the celtic cross are unknown, yet surely they can only be the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Their position on the column relative to the other figures also supports this idea.
    As for the first bible, now held in Florence, the wood of the scriptorium cannot be mahogany as that is a new world wood and the Americas had not been discovered when this bible was made.

  • T J Dowds

    The Seven Ages of Britain is, I believe sponsored by the Open University and it must be that they have historians check the contents for accuracy. Which leads me to the awkward conclusion that there is either sloppy monitoring or a failure of historical knowledge among those responsible for putting the material on air. Britain did not exist until after 1603, hence there was no “Tudor Britain”, nor was there such an entity as Britain at any time after the Roman occupation of the southern part of the island until the succession to the English throne of James VI of Scots. Yet the name Britain/ British has been applied to artefacts from this very period.
    It may be that the producers have fallen prey to the malaise of confusing England and Britain that so bedevils many correspondents, but it is not what is expected from even a poor historian. The lack of historical rigour displayed in this programme would lead me to question the value of a history qualifacation that was endorsed by such “historians.”

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