05 Sep 2008

The End of World War One, a very British Tsunami and Stonehenge as a hospital? – Timewatch returns to BBC TWO with The Open University

Michael Palin

Michael Palin

Timewatch, television’s longest running history programme, returns to BBC TWO this Autumn with four new films co-produced by The Open University.

Michael Palin, traveller, comedian and amateur historian presents Timewatch: The Last Day of World War One. The film is a personal odyssey for Michael as he travels to the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium, armed with new research and photographs to tell the tragic stories of four men, British, French, Canadian and American, who died shortly before the fateful 11 O’Clock cease fire.

He also reveals the shocking fact that hundreds on all sides lost their lives in the hours after the Armistice had been signed. He also discovers the fate of his Great-Uncle Harry, who fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Michael Palin said: "The First World War has been so firmly etched in my mind since my schooldays that this Timewatch programme seemed a quite natural thing to be involved with. It may be a little different in tone from my usual offerings, but in a small way it was as important to me as anything I’ve ever done."

Other programmes in the series reveal startling new facts unearthed during a new excavation conducted at Stonehenge that indicates the ancient stones were a centre for healing; a new look at the early life of Queen Victoria and controversial new evidence indicating an actual Tsunami struck the South West coast of Britain in 1607.

The Open University’s Stuart Mitchell, academic adviser for the series, said: "Timewatch has once again proved its worth with a series of excellent, historically well grounded, and interesting programmes.

"Of particular note are those on the last day of World War One and Stonehenge. The series is not frightened to be bold and to move beyond the well-trodden areas covered in other television history. I think we should be grateful for that, since it enriches popular knowledge of important historical topics. The series, I hope, will also encourage viewers to find out more about history and how to study it."

The Open University website Open2.net has a huge range of supporting material for Timewatch including programme summaries, images, exclusive blogs, podcasts, and extended video interviews.

Editor’s Notes

Timewatch is an Open University/BBC Co-Production for BBC TWO.

It will be broadcast on Saturday 27th September 2008, then every Saturday until Saturday 1st November.

Check press for times. The fifth film in the series ‘The Boxer Rebellion’ is solely a BBC production.

Executive Editor for the BBC is John Farren. Executive Producer for The Open University is Catherine McCarthy. The Open University Academic Adviser is Dr Stuart Mitchell. The Broadcast Learning Executive for The Open University is Dr Caroline Ogilvie.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning. All broadcast information is correct at time of issue.

For preview DVDs or images contact Guy Bailey


Related Courses and programmes from the Open University:-
- Y160 Making Sense of the Arts
- A103 Introduction to the Humanities
- A173 Start writing family history
- A180 Heritage, Whose Heritage?
- A251 World Archaeology
- A219 Exploring the Classical World
- AA309 Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire
- AT308 Cities and technology: from Babylon to Singapore
- A200 Exploring history: medieval to modern
- A218 Medicine and Society in Europe 1500 – 1930
- AT272 Ancient and Medieval Cities: A technological history
- AS208 The Rise of Scientific Europe 1500 – 1800
- A207 From Enlightenment to Romanticism c.1780 – 1830
- AA310 Film and Television history
- AA312 Total War and Social Change, Europe 1914 to 1955
- AXR312 Total War and Social Change, Europe 1914 to 1955 (Residential School)

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