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Seven Ages Of Britain: introduction

Seven Ages Of Britain: David Dimbleby rowing to Iona with Currach crew

Written and presented by David Dimbleby

The story of our nation told through its treasures on BBC One

David Dimbleby charts a landmark history of Britain's greatest art and artefacts over 2,000 years, in Seven Ages Of Britain.

The seven-part series of 60-minute programmes, shot in HD, begins at 9.00pm on Sunday 31 January 2010.

An arts commission in partnership with The Open University, Seven Ages Of Britain looks at our extraordinary past through the arts – both as treasures, that have often played a decisive part in events, and as marvels of their age.

From painted images and monuments of stone and gold to religious relics, weapons of war, instruments of science and works of art; often they are artefacts of great beauty and craftsmanship, but sometimes they are simple, everyday things, which have a powerful story to tell.

Over the seven programmes, David Dimbleby roams far and wide – including Italy, Germany, Turkey, India and America – tracking down astonishing artefacts that both encapsulate events or originate from the UK, and yet ended up leaving our shores.

Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, said: "The Seven Ages Of Britain is a hugely ambitious arts series for BBC One.

"David brings the subject matter alive with journalistic endeavour and a twinkle in his eye."

In Britain or abroad, The Seven Ages Of Britain is a journey revealing treasures of great beauty and craftsmanship that tell us who we were and are, and that pay testament to the great events that formed our nation.

David Dimbleby said: "Seven Ages Of Britain has proved an exhilarating quest.

"The television camera offers a spectacular view of some of our most precious national treasures. It allows us to see them in ways beyond the reach of the human eye as we tell the story of our country's history over 2,000 years through the art we have created in good times and bad."

Seven Ages Of Britain: David Dimbleby looking at face of Britannia at Aphrodisias, Turkey

Dr Rachel Gibbons, Academic Consultant for The Open University, commented: "Seven Ages Of Britain is our social and cultural history, telling the story of the nation and its peoples through art and artefacts, through the precious treasures and the everyday objects created in Britain.

"Each of these objects and artefacts is evidence of the society in which it was produced. They all have value to historians for what they can tell us about our ancestors and how we, as a society, have become who we are now."

AH

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