UK / BBC Two – Time Life / 13×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 5 May – 28 May Jul 1973
After having scaled the highest peaks of television with Civilisation it was clearly obvious that more of the same was in order, BBC2 controller David Attenborough (yes the David Attenborough – during the 1960’s Attenborough spent much of his time as head of the BBC’s fledgling second channel) decided the emphasis this time should be on science and technology.
Some four years in the making The Ascent of Man reached the screening in 1973 and was easily the equal of Civilisation, presented and written by Polish born (and supremely eloquent but also nicely personal too) Dr Jacob Bronowski the 13 part series took a thematic approach to topics such as evolution, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and even atomic physics and Bronowski’s easy delivery made understanding how man had shaped the environment very easy to digest, some of the most fascinating sections deal with the industrialisation of the world and some of the saddest moments feature Bronowski visiting Auschwitz where many of his family and friends perished during world war two.
The episodes were
Lower Than Angels – Foresight and imagination
The Harvest Of The Seasons – From our nomadic wanderings to settling down in one place and the beginings of agriculture.
The Grain In The Stone – Setting up communities.
The Hidden Stucture – The story of chemistry.
Music Of The Spheres – Bronowski looks at mathmatics.
The Starry Messenger – A growing understanding of astronomy.
The Majestic Clockworck – A look at thye work of Einstien & newton.
The Drive For Power – The Industrial Revolution.
The Ladder Of Creation – Charles Darwin.
World Within World – Atoms, electrons and neutrons.
Knowledge Or Uncertainty? – Physics.
Generation Upon Generation – Genetics.