The Story of England
, written and directed by Michael Wood, is one of the most fascinating TV documentary series in recent memory. One doesn't need to be English to find this approach to living history absolutely gripping. The idea was a genius one, yet hard to imagine what the results might be. Wood and his crew decided to pick an ordinary small English town, Kibworth, and see if they could get the townsfolk to agree to help them figure out how to learn the history of the hamlet. And an amazing history it is, the viewer soon finds. Located in Leicestershire in the heart of England, the area was ruled by Romans, Saxons, descendants of Vikings, tribal leaders, and many others over the centuries-long history of England. Meticulously, Wood and the scholars on his team fan out into the town, which enthusiastically agrees to help. This plays out in having living archeological digs dotted all around the town, in regular backyards, fields, streets, and crossroads. And the findings are amazing--tools from the Bronze Age, Viking artifacts, Roman coins, skeletal remains from the time of the Black Death. Wood's Story of England
not only brings history alive, but it puts it into immediate context, and the excitement of the villagers upon each new find is contagious. Don't be surprised if, after you've watched the whole series, you find yourself wondering what might be buried just a few feet below the surface in your own backyard. --A.T. Hurley
In this groundbreaking series, charismatic presenter Michael Wood tells the story of one place - the village of Kibworth, Leicestershire - throughout the whole of English history. Located in the very heart of England, Kibworth has lived through the Black Death, the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution, and was even bombed in World War II. With the help of the local people and using archaeology, landscape, language and DNA, Michael Wood uncovers the lost history of this village from the Roman era to the present day. Intertwining the local and national narratives, he creates a moving and informative picture of one local community throughout history.