The Story of China

with Michael Wood

The Story of China

Premiered June 2017

The Story of China, written and presented by historian Michael Wood, explores the history of the world’s oldest continuous state, from the ancient past to the present day.

Home to over a billion people, China is the new superpower, a country we all want to understand now, and Wood argues that to do so we have to look at its history. Travelling across the country, he explores the landscapes, peoples, stories and cultures that have helped create China’s distinctive character and genius over more than four thousand years.

Michael Wood with Confucian monks in Qufu

Journeying along the Silk Route, down the Grand Canal, and across the plain of the Yellow River, where Chinese civilization began, Wood meets people from all walks of life, visiting China's most evocative landscapes and exploring ancient cities like Xi'an, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

Statues at Buddhist monastery in Kaifeng

Wood traces some of the great moments in Chinese history — from their extraordinary voyages of exploration before Columbus, to amazing scientific inventions before the European Renaissance: he'll even show that the Chinese invented football!

Farmer and ox plowing a field

A grand sweep narrative, full of big ideas and unexpected surprises, the series shows how the Chinese created their own distinctive vision of the world: a vision that is still alive in the 21st century and indeed, Wood argues, is the real motor behind the incredible and growing success of China today.