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Manchester’s TV historian tells The Story of China on BBC2

21 Jan 2016

Professor Michael Wood returns to television screens with a six part series tracing the development of Chinese civilisation over 4,000 years

Our Professor of Public History, Michael Wood returns to television screens in a new BBC2 series - The Story of China starting on Thursday, 21 January at 9pm.

Michael Wood has been a regular face on TV for over three decades and is one of the country’s best loved historians.

The six-part series, written and presented by Professor Wood, traces the development of Chinese civilisation over 4,000 years and in it he travels the length and breadth of China to meet the people and explore some of China’s most remarkable sites and most exciting stories.

Highlights from the programmes include ruined cities of the Silk Road, desert oases and the ancient capitals of China, all brought to life with temple festivals and ancestral celebrations, traditional storytellers and Buddhist musicians, and even a crunch match in the Chinese Premier League!

Michael also joins in a farmers’ festival in Henan where a million pilgrims flock each year to worship at the shrine of Nuwa, the ancient goddess whom legend said made humanity out of the yellow mud of the Yellow River. 

Episodes 5 and 6, which look at the birth of modern China from the 1700s had input from Professor Yangwen Zheng, an expert in Chinese history from the University’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, and will be broadcast on 18 February and 25 February.

Michael and Yangwen were also invited by the BBC and the All Parliamentary Party Group on China for a special preview of the documentary followed by a Q and A session by MPs earlier this week.

Michael said: “Making the series has been a huge challenge and a fantastic adventure. China is the country we all want to know about today, and if you want to understand China you have to know about its history.

“Manchester University has rich Chinese connections – as we all saw when President Xi came up here in the autumn on his unprecedented visit - and I have been so grateful for the university’s support during the two years or so of making this series.”

Watch the trailer: 

You can also follow the series of social media via the hashtag #TheStoryofChina on Twitter or follow series producers Maya Vision International on Facebook.