The Story of China

The Story of China is a six-part documentary series hosted by historian Michael Wood, exploring the history of the world's oldest continuous state, from the ancient past to the present day. China is the world's most populous state, with a population of over 1.381 billion. Today, China is rising again as a superpower. To understand this rising superpower, Michael Wood argues that we need to look at its history. Travelling across the country, Wood explores the landscapes, peoples, stories and cultures that have helped create China's distinctive character and genius over more than four thousand years.

Episode 1 - Ancestors

Episode 1 - Ancestors
Starting in Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. 'Like the nation, the family has been through so much,' one says. 'Now everyone wants to know - what are our roots?'

Episode 2 - Silk Roads and China Ships
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From the picturesque old city of Luoyang, he travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China.

Episode 3 - The Golden Age
This episode tells the tale of what's broadly considered China's most creative dynasty - the Song (960-1279). Michael Wood heads to the city of Kaifeng, the greatest city in the world before the 19th century.

Episode 4 - The Ming
The tale of one of China's most famous dynasties begins with the amazing story of Hongwu, a peasant rebel who founded one of greatest eras in Chinese history.

Episode 5 - The Last Empire
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country.

Episode 6 - The Age of Revolution
'Revolution', Michael Wood observes, 'has been a fact of life in Chinese history'. Between 1850 and 1950, three cataclysmic revolutions shook China to the core, but out of them, today's China emerged.

Related Links
History of China - wikipedia
Written records of the history of China can be found from as early as 1500 BC under the Shang dynasty (c. 1600?1046 BC).
Wild China
This is a BBC nature documentary series about the natural history and some examples of traditional lifestyles of China.
Legacy: The Origins of Civilization - China
Many breakthroughs on which the modern world is based were discovered in China long ago: iron-casting, gunpowder, and even printing. When introduced to Europe, these things changed Western civilization.
Engineering an Empire: China
This episode examines some of the great engineering feats accomplished by China's real emperors century after century, including the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.
The Silk Road
This is a documentary series created through the joint cooperation of China's CCTV and Japan's NHK, exploring China's historical sites, villages, religions and cultures along the ancient trade route.
China: A Century of Revolution
This is a three-part documentary series that explores the history of modern China from the fall of the last emperor in 1911 to the early 1990s.
The Art of China
This is a three-part BBC documentary series hosted by Andrew Graham-Dixon, exploring the art of China from ancient times to the present.
Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure
This is a four-part documentary series hosted by Chefs Ken Hom and Ching He Huang, undertaking a culinary adventure across China, sampling its food, history and culture.