UK's interest in China boosted by BBC TV series

By Samantha Vada ( ) Updated: 2016-01-25 13:14:18

UK's interest in China boosted by BBC TV series

A screenshot from the trailer of BBC's new TV series The Story of China.

A new six-part television series celebrating stories of China's ancient history has begun showing on the UK's public broadcasting service, BBC Two.

Written and presented by British historian, Professor Michael Wood, The Story of China explores the development of Chinese civilization over more than four thousand years.

"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," Wood told China Daily.

"People have such set ideas about China, all you see on the news is high rise, mass industry, Gucci and Armani and yet what you don't realize is the amazing vitality, energy and diversity of the culture, and our job is to try and unfold that."

The six-hour series, which took two years to make, takes Wood through some of China's most historic sites, including ruined cities of the Silk Road, desert oases and ancient capitals.

In the first episode, which aired on Thursday night, Wood meets the Qin family in Wuxi who trace their ancestors back to at least 1049.

"The TV audience in the West gets this privilege of being welcomed into a Chinese family before they even set off to think about the history," Wood says.

"Then when you start looking at the history things start coming up that you realize are still alive like family, the rituals and the food."

Throughout his travels, Wood visits temple festivals and ancestral celebrations, traditional storytellers and Buddhist musicians; uncovering some of the most remarkable stories about what makes China what it is today.

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