How a television series was constructed

The British television company Channel Four commissioned the production company Windfall Films to make a six-part series to celebrate the 2000 A.D. millennium. The series was conceived, filmed and edited between September 1998 and May 2000.

I was involved as an advisor and in some of the filming. I decided not only to contribute to the series itself, but document what I could about the process of making a television series for British television.

Through the kindness of Windfall Films, and particularly David Dugan and Carlo Massarella, and with much support from Sarah Harrison, I assembled a set of materials which surround the actual films. A brief description of the process was published in 2001.

There is a book to accompany the series: 'The Day the World Took Off, The Roots of the Industrial Revolution' by Sally & David Dugan, Channel 4 Books 2000

-         preparations:  the discussions which lay behind the series; a discussion of the founding of the production company

-         conversations:  unscripted seminars in which five scholars talked about the history of the world over the last ten thousand years

-         explorations: additional filming in various locations (China, Japan, Britain, Nepal, Australia, America, Venice, Istanbul) and on a number of themes

-         creations: examples of the way in which the film was shot and edited 

-         narrations: the six films themselves (each 50 minutes)

-         reflections: discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the film by those involved

The films were made on either high quality (digibeta) video or on a small digital video camera. The material was then copied onto VHS, digitized onto an Apple Mac, roughly edited and  compressed to MPEG 4.


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