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New PBS Documentary, "1421: When China Discovered the World," Re-writes Global History in 2004
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Pearson Broadband and Paladin Invision Trace China's Journeys to the New World Decades Before Columbus' Expedition

Hollywood CA, January 10, 2003 --Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles, PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell announced the production of 1421: WHEN CHINA DISCOVERED THE WORLD, a two-hour documentary that will premiere in 2004. The film examines the journeys of Zheng He, who led a fleet of Chinese treasure junks on seven daring journeys of exploration and may have been the first to command a voyage that circumnavigated the globe -- all decades before Columbus began his voyage to the West. A co-production of Pearson Broadband and Paladin Invision, the series producer is William Cran, who helmed the acclaimed COMMANDING HEIGHTS: THE BATTLE FOR THE WORLD ECONOMY, which premiered on PBS last year.

1421: WHEN CHINA DISCOVERED THE WORLD examines the theories outlined by Gavin Menzies in his book "1421: The Year China Discovered the World," which has become a best-seller in the United Kingdom and was released in the United States earlier this week. Mr. Menzies, a British amateur historian and former submarine commander in the Royal Navy, poses an argument that could change the way we perceive global history forever -- that Chinese admirals discovered America and Chinese junks first circled the earth. Traveling across the continents, the film will combine history, science and technology with adventure and exploration, taking viewers on their own voyage of discovery.

"The producers of 1421: WHEN CHINA DISCOVERED THE WORLD ask provocative questions and get fascinating, surprising answers," said Ms. Mitchell. "We are pleased to inaugurate a production partnership with Pearson Broadband by presenting this remarkable story."

John Hollar, president of Pearson Broadband, commented, "We believe this will be a landmark historical mystery and are extremely pleased to be working with PBS, the unquestioned leader for serious history and documentary programming in the United States."

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 350 public television stations. Serving over 90 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.

Pearson Broadband is committed to discovering new and different ways to create, package and distribute relevant and accessible learning-related experiences. By developing high impact, entertaining television and broadband applications, Pearson Broadband invites individuals to participate in personalized learning, in both the home and classroom. From view to do, through TV to broadband and back again, Pearson Broadband continuously develops compelling and interactive ways to meet individual learning needs.

Pearson Broadband, a division of Pearson, one of the world's leading media and education companies, has offices in London, Beijing, Hong Kong and New York.

Paladin Invision is a co-venture between two of Britain's most internationally respected documentary filmmakers: William Cran and Clive Syddall. Specialists in transatlantic co-productions, they have produced some 500 hours of programming, spanning history, the arts, religion and current affairs. Their programs have been made and sold around the world.

Paladin Invision's producers are regarded as among the best in their field and have won numerous awards, most of them more than once. These include the BAFTA, Edward R. Murrow, Golden Gate, Golden Hugo, Cine Golden Eagle, the Peabody and four Emmys.


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Jan McNamara, PBS
John Steele, Pearson Broadband
Robin Gay, Pearson Broadband London
+44 20 7010 2907