We are outside Mary's Deli in the village of Kibworth in Leicestershire, and I am scribbling this as the camera crew gulp a quick coffee, after an early start.

After epic journeys in the Story Of India, not to mention tracking Alexander through Afghanistan, and Pizarro Over The Andes, this feels like something of a homecoming.

Now one year into Michael Wood's Story Of England and we all really feel at home here. Mary automatically puts extra milk in the producer's tea, and it's impossible to walk down the street without meeting people who have helped us.

But how did it all start? Well, I had always wanted to try to tell the whole story of English history from one place, through the eyes of the people, not the rulers.

I felt sure that looking at history from this perspective would tell a completely different but no less dramatic story and one which we all could relate to - as it would be the history of us.

And why Kibworth? I was led to Kibworth first by its remarkable archive of historical documents. And split by the A6 on the fringe of the multiracial city of Leicester, Kibworth is emphatically today's England in miniature.

So the Story of England is the tale of one community over time, but it could be any place. It could be yours.

Making the series all started over a year ago with the Big Dig, which you'll see in episode one. We advertised on BBC Radio Leicester and 250 locals turned up at the school hall for an archaeological weekend.

Supervised by experts, they dug 55 test pits (the most ever done in a single place). The dig was a success beyond our wildest dreams.

We got Roman sherds, remarkable early and late Anglo-Saxon pottery, all the way through the Middle Ages to the debris of Georgian coaching inns, frame knitters' workshops and even in one pit household throwouts from the 1960s!

And even the children really got into it - as one of the villagers, Louise Dodds said: "We've never seen the kids concentrate so hard in all our lives!"

As the series continues, you'll see us go on to field walking, tree ring dating and DNA tests. We've found a Roman villa and Norman castle mound.

The villagers have researched in the National Archives, and we've gone with the high school kids on their battlefield tour to the Somme.

Through all this, tales have opened up of Viking settlers, medieval rebels, canal navvies, highwaymen transported to Australia, and suffragettes thrown into Holloway prison.

The village was even strafed and bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War Two. The local Home Guard commander camouflaged his beloved silver and red Singer sports car so well that he had to send out his men to find it: a scene worthy of Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army!

And filming back in England after years on the road? Well, I used to think that washing in a mountain stream at dawn on the Hindu Kush and breakfast with black tea and coarse bitter bread was just about as good as it gets on a film shoot.

But now as the village wakes up, with Richard the postman doing his rounds, Debbie putting out the sign outside the bookshop, and Mrs Croxford (97 this month) heading down to the Co-op, I must say that Mary's Marmite toast and coffee runs it pretty close!

Michael Wood is the presenter of Michael Wood's Story Of England.

Michael Wood's Story Of England is on BBC Four at 9pm and BBC HD at 10.30pm on Wednesday, 22 September.

For all future programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

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  • Comment number 61. Posted by LindaMcDonaldHite

    on 19 Mar 2011 18:25

    Is it possible to get this series in the US? I follow practically everything Michael Wood does and as a media historian he's top of my list. Would love to know there's some way of viewing this ASAP.

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  • Comment number 60. Posted by Priyan

    on 22 Jan 2011 13:46

    Hello Michael,
    Thanks for the great programmes you have been consistently delighting us with. This thread may not be the best place to say what I want to say, but I could find no other way of contacting you - so hope you will read this one day! I own the blu ray of your series 'The Story of India' and loved the wonderful history that you presented in your unique style. However I did notice that there was just no mention of the North East of India. Being myself from Assam, the land of tea and the one horned rhino unicornis, I did feel a unique part of India was left untold. The NE part of India has its own unique story and an amazing biodiversity not found anywhere in India or elsewhere, and some parts are indeed the fabled Shangri-la hidden from the gaze of the outside world. I hope you will take up a mini series one day on this unique region, and I am happy to give you all my suggestions and ideas for this. Thank you very much!!

    Regards.
    Priyan.

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  • Comment number 59. Posted by Stuart Groves

    on 20 Dec 2010 22:54

    I thoroughly enjoyed the series but the last programme showing second world war soldiers singing 'we are the Leicester boys' reminded me of my former wife's description of her late father, a South Derbyshire coal miner who fought in WW1 in the Leicestershire regiment. He apparently told her that at some time in the past the regiment had disgraced itself and the officers kept volunteering for the most dangerous jobs to re-establish it's reputation. Obviously I don't know how serious he could have been but he apparently said the no officer would go in front of his men or he ran the risk of being shot in the back. However he must have fought at close quarters and could wake up screaming in the night; he said the germans have such blue eyes. On Armistice day he would say 'bah' and go to the pub to get drunk which as the last few survivors fade away, rightly respected, I don't suppose my late father-in-law's views were unique.

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  • Comment number 58. Posted by elaineprsn

    on 9 Dec 2010 11:38

    Wonderful programme as always by Michael Wood....he brings history to life! I bet the children of Kibworth will never forget being involved.
    Look forward to other interesting programmes. Well done Michael and the BBC for giving us quality

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  • Comment number 57. Posted by Paul Marks

    on 23 Nov 2010 13:43

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 56. Posted by elaineprsn

    on 22 Nov 2010 20:48

    Well Done BBC and Michael Woods....I've really enjoyed this series,although missed one episode as it was not on BBc 2 every week. Hope the whole programme will be repeated soon and that it will come out on DVD.I'm sure the people of Kibworth must have gained so much from taking part. What a good idea Michael ....such an interesting way to tell the history of England.
    Agree about background music....it spoils so many of the programmes I enjoy watching ...please stop doing it.

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  • Comment number 55. Posted by Calcutt_lime

    on 20 Nov 2010 23:29

    What a wonderful way of recounting our peoples history, I have so enjoyed The Story of England, the methodology of the programme is such good History. Well done! Every episode has made me think wow thats us.

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  • Comment number 54. Posted by Glenn Litherland

    on 16 Nov 2010 11:54

    With reference to last nights Story of England. 8min 5sec into the programme Prof Chris Dyer refered to an amount recorded as to the value of 2 chairs and a cupboard as 3 shillings adding the comment "They were not big spenders on furniture." Surely 3 bob was a considerable sum of money then. Later reference was made by the prof to a dowry of 20 shillings giving further weight to my assertion that 3 bob was a very significant sum of money.

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  • Comment number 53. Posted by richard

    on 31 Oct 2010 12:21

    I dont think the Angles and Saxons came to England after c450 AD but that there was a continuous movement of people from nw europe into eastern england from the time Doggerland sank so that the people of the two areas are largely one, and spoke roughly the same language. frisian is still the nearest language to English. The reference I can offer is Phillip Oppenheimer, The Origin of the British People (I think). My argument pre-dates my reading of his work, which is based on genetics and difficult. My argument derives from Renfrew's Archaeology and Language and my growing belief that it was impossible for a small number of nw European incomers to destroy the english language in about 150 years. Hence tney didnt; English waspre-Roman, Roman and post-Roman

    richard

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  • Comment number 52. Posted by AerinT

    on 30 Oct 2010 15:03

    A totally relevant and accessible way of exploring 'our' history and easy to see why Kibworth was chosen. It would also be interesting to know which other locations around Britain were considered initially.
    Especially poignant for me in the last programme were the descriptions given of a few residents during the Victorian era. The description given of Mrs Coleman was instantly recognisable to me and could easily have been a description of her granddaughter, my great aunt, 60 years later in her own pub, in a similar village, nearly 50 miles away.
    Wayne wondered if we may be related, I suspect we are.

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