Archive for July 10th, 2012

by Allan Fish

(UK 1985 344m) DVD2

Once upon a time there was a town called Troy

p  Bill Lyons, Colin Adams  d  Bill Lyons  w  Michael Wood  Terry Oldfield, David Pash

presented by  Michael Wood

Though overshadowed by the often superfluous saturation of by-the-numbers historical documentaries offered up on satellite and cable television, there have been numerous impressive contributions to the genre from various prominent specialists.  We’ve had great works from Ken Burns, Tony Essex, Jeremy Isaacs and Angus MacQueen that dealt with comparatively recent history, and which are discussed elsewhere in this piece.  When it comes to older periods of history, we have had several superb, scholarly treatises by the likes of Simon Schama and David Starkey, as well as the work of tireless enthusiast John Romer, responsible for such impressive, idiosyncratic works as The Seven Wonders of the World, Byzantium and Great Excavations.  However, the man who has done perhaps most to promote history to the generally ill-educated masses has to be Manchester’s own Dorian Gray-like historian Michael Wood.  Wood had been off our screens for over a decade when he returned in 1998 with In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, a mammoth undertaking which saw him follow in the footsteps of the great warrior conqueror and following the exact route of Alexander’s epic conquests, his irrepressible enthusiasm and intrepidity mixing successfully with a Michael Palin style travelogue.  It was great viewing, but it also made one nostalgic for the series that made his name in the early and mid-eighties.  He made various programmes and series all In Search of some person or period, from the Dark Ages to William the Conqueror, but his magnum opus still remains In Search of the Trojan War(more…)

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