15 Feb 2012

A new six part series explores the history of Wales

The Story of Wales, produced in partnership with The Open University and the BBC, delves into the nation’s epic history from its earliest foundations to the modern day.

The six part series, presented by broadcaster Huw Edwards, begins with a fascinating reconstruction of the earliest known human burial in Western Europe - the “Red Lady” of Paviland almost 30,000 years ago. The series examines how Hywel Dda united Wales under one law and looks at the Welsh at the heart of the Tudor Court. It discovers how the pace of the country changed as coal mines and iron works flourished putting Wales ahead of the World in the industrial revolution and culminates with an exploration of modern day devolution.

The Open University’s Professor Trevor Herbert is the lead academic consultant on the project, which officially launched at the National History Museum of Wales in western Cardiff last month and begins on BBC ONE Wales at 9pm on 27th February.

Rob Humphreys, Director of The OU in Wales commented: “This is the first bilateral co-production between BBC Wales and the OU in Wales, an exciting new chapter but part of that long and rich tradition of BBC-OU collaboration. The series is not about promoting Wales - although there are always those around who might wish our history to be about that. Our duty as a University - and in particular our unique relationship with the BBC, is to offer those opportunities to learn, opening up the challenges of discovering new perspectives, debates and discoveries.”

To accompany the series the OU in Wales will be organising a number of public events throughout the year that will seek to explore the subject further. There is also a free booklet ‘Icons of Wales’ that can be ordered via the Open Learn website - open.edu/openlearn/storyofwales.

In addition, BBC Radio Wales in partnership with The Open University will broadcast a six-week series ‘Histories of Wales’ which will look at themes such as radicalism, migration, the family and war, with presenters including former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, from Sunday, February 19th.

The Story of Wales is a partnership between The Open University and the BBC and is produced by Green Bay Media. The Executive Producer for the BBC is Elis Owen and the Executive Producers for Green Bay Media are Phil George and John Geraint.

Notes to Editors

For further information, online learning materials, request a copy of the Icons of Wales booklet or to select your nomination for an Icon of Wales visit the OpenLearn platform open.edu/openlearn/storyofwales

The Open University (OU) is the largest higher education institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.7 million students and has more than 264,000 current students, including 20,000 overseas, learning in their own time using course materials, online activities and content, web-based forums and tutorials and through tutor groups and residential schools.

The OU has been highly rated for teaching quality, and has been at the top of student satisfaction rankings in the National Student Survey since it was introduced in 2005. 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and three out of four FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

The OU supports a vibrant research portfolio and in the UK's latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the University climbed 23 places to 43rd, securing a place in the UK's top 50 higher education institutions.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 20 million visitors, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 47 million downloads. The OU has a 40 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Stargazing Live and Protecting Our Children.

Visit www.open.ac.uk

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