A History of the World: Culture Show Special

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Duration: 1 hour

A special edition of The Culture Show marking the start of a landmark project in which the BBC and the British Museum focus on the span of human history through 100 objects held at the museum.

This programme, presented by Mishal Husain from the British Museum, profiles all the elements of the project, which includes one hundred programmes on Radio 4, a massive online factor, as well as programmes on CBBC and coverage from the BBC right across the country.

It examines in detail some of the objects featured on the British Museum's list. Sir David Attenborough looks at the oldest object on the list, a stone hand axe almost two million years old; while Mishal Husain finds out more about the famous statue of Ramesses II.

Matthew Collings looks at a number of objects that illustrate the role of royalty through the course of human history, including a macabre depiction in stone of a Mayan blood-letting ceremony from 1,300 years ago.

There is also a look at prized objects from other museums around the country taking part in the project.

Neil Oliver is in Glasgow and Dumfries to look at artefacts including a cast of the skull of Robert the Bruce and a replica of the very first bicycle. Mark Kermode is in the Isle of Man to look at some of the objects left on the island by those who have lived or passed through it.

There is also an interview with Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, who talks us through other objects on the Museum's list, including the Sutton Hoo helmet, the Rosetta Stone and Elgin Marbles.

Tom Dyckhoff speculates on what object could be selected to represent life in 2010. Suggestions come from Tony Benn, Shami Chakrabarti, Antony Gormley, Sir James Dyson and Darcus Howe among others.

  • A History of the World

    A History of the World

    Discover a wealth of objects that define our history and then add your own, read the blog, get details of forthcoming programmes and find out what's happening in your area as part of this landmark collaboration between the BBC and the British Museum.

    Visit the History of the World site


Mishal Husain
David Attenborough
Neil MacGregor
Tony Benn
Shami Chakrabarti
Antony Gormley
James Dyson
Darcus Howe
Matthew Collings
Neil Oliver
Mark Kermode
Tom Dyckhoff
Matt Barrett
Kathryn Williams
Sarah Howitt
Katy Homan
Graham Mitchell


BBC Arts

BBC Arts

The best of British art and culture at your fingertips

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