Category: Uncategorized



Fresh snow sparkle in the sun. Snow background.

Thanks to all our friends and colleagues for a great year!

Hope 2017 is fantastic for everyone – The Story of China airs in the US next year!

And to steal a line from our good friend and partner Leo Eaton:

‘May your ratings be huge, your commissioners intelligent, your critics kind and, if you are using platform-agnostic distribution, your ‘play’ and ‘finish’ numbers astronomical’





Join Michael Wood for the Jeevika Lecture 2016 at the RGS on Thurs 24th Nov

The Jeevika Lecture 2016 will be exploring the theme of “INDIA and CHINA: Modern Travels in Ancient Civilisations”. In this Lecture, illustrated with slides and clips from over three decades of journeys and film making, Michael will be talking about some of his favourite journeys, his favourite landscapes, cultures and stories…. and on the way exploring some of the comparisons and contrasts between the world’s two greatest civilisations.

Doors open at 6:30pm and close at 9:30pm. The lecture starts at 7:00pm and will be followed by an opportunity for questions, finishing at 8:00pm.

Before and after the lecture there will be a cash bar and, as at previous Jeevika Lectures, an Indian Bazaar, organised by Serena Fass, offering a wide range of high quality Indian jewellery, artefacts, clothes and books.

Michael writes:   “It’s so easy to forget the weight of India and China in world history, but just think: China today has over 1.3 billion people and the Indian subcontinent as a whole over 1.7 billion:  together they hold over 40 per cent of the world’s population!  And it’s not just their size: it is their great antiquity, amazing  diversity, and prodigious creativity. India is the world’s oldest civilisation , going back to the 7th millennium BCE in the early villages of Baluchistan and the Indus valley.  With its roots in the Bronze Age,  China has been a unified state since 2nd century BCE – the oldest continuous state on earth, a fact which has had a massive influence on the way the Chinese  see the world: for example in the tremendous importance their culture attaches to ethics and politics, going  back to Confucius and beyond.  India, in contrast to China, was never a unified state before the British, despite great dynasties like the Mauryans, the Guptas and the Moghuls ruling large parts  of it; even the British Raj was an extraordinary patchwork  of semi-independent princely states – 675 of them!   No wonder that  at the time of his youthful exploits among the Pathans Churchill famously said “there is no such thing as India!”   And yet despite Partition in 1947, no one denies the fact of the “Idea of India:”  for all its incredible ethnic linguistic and cultural diversity, sharing many aspects of a common culture -and in particular a religious universe – which has developed over many millennia.

So many questions, then, and so many conundrums: yet unending fascination!   In a nutshell, I’ll be showing pictures from my life as a film maker and traveller over the years – with a special mention for some much loved  places:  for example the ‘once every 30 year’ festival at Chidambaram in South India  which I attended last year,  an astounding temple fair in the Yellow River Plain,  science and cuisine (and all-women mosques!) in the alleys of Kaifeng, and even a glimpse of the fabulous story telling houses in old Yangzhou….Far too much to pack into one hour but I will try!!!

We are hoping for a full house, so don’t leave it too late! Tickets for the event cost £20 (plus booking fee) and are available to purchase from Eventbrite. Book tickets here.Michael Wood Jeevika Lecture 2016


Some upcoming Michael Wood talks

Hi all!

We thought you might be interested in some of Michael’s talks coming up in the next few weeks.


April 5th

Michael is doing a talk at St Botolph’s Hall, Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3TL titled ‘In Search of Shakespeare’

Tickets cost £5

“The BBC presenter and author of In Search of Shakespeare will give his own personal interpretation of the life and works of William Shakespeare in this talk based on his detailed experience and passion for the plays and poems alongside his extensive research into the biography of the historically elusive playwright.”

Find out more:


April 11th

The Battle of Brunanburh: new light on an old mystery, with Michael Wood at the University of Liverpool.

“Join film-maker and historian, Michael Wood, as he sheds light one of the most famous events of the Viking Age, the Battle of Brunanburh. 

In 937 AD a Viking and North British coalition led by Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin, invaded England, only to be defeated by the Anglo-Saxon King Æthelstan at a place called Brunanburh. The site of this decisive battle is still unidentified, but over the last 40 years a consensus has grown amongst historians that it was located on the Wirral Peninsula. 

Reviewing the evidence from texts, coins and place names, and setting the war in the context of the politics of the North Sea and North Britain in the Viking era, Michael Wood will offer a new perspective on arguably the most significant battle to have taken place in Britain in the five centuries before Hastings.”

Find out more:


April 18th

Michael is doing a lecture at the Royal Geographic society on The Story of China

“Illustrated with fantastic images and clips, Michael will reflect on some of the big themes that emerged from his travels around China in the making of his recent BBC 2 series.”

Find out more:


April 22nd

The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture – The Shakespeare Circle – Stratford-upon-Avon

“The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture, Friday 22 April at 4.00pm, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon.
‘The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography’. Join Dame Margaret Drabble, Michael Wood, and Stanley Wells as they discuss Shakespeare’s intimate circle of family, friends and colleagues. How do their lives shed light on Shakespeare’s? Chaired by Paul Edmondson, and presented in collaboration with The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and Cambridge University Press.  At the end of the lecture, there will be a special-guest appearance by poet Wendy Cope who will read her new series of Shakespeare poems, commissioned by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for 2016.”
Tickets £10.00 adults /£8 concession (children/students/seniors and Friends of the SBT)
Find out more:

Michael Wood Receives award from the Al-Khoei Foundation

We’re very pleased to say that Michael Wood received a special award on Saturday from the Al-Khoei Foundation, on the occasion of the international conference in London to mark the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. The Al-Khoei Foundation are a UN affiliated Muslim charity devoted to interfaith dialogue and human rights work, with whom Maya Vision has had long connections going back to our multi-award winning film Saddam’s Killing Fields (Saddam’s Latest War in the US). They were also kind enough to lend us a beautiful location in the US whist we were filming for our series ‘Sacred Journeys’.


Sacred Journeys wins a Christopher Award!

11182679_10206650486845595_4800846797935061656_oCongratulations to Team Sacred Journeys for another well-deserved award.

The Christopher Awards honour books, movies, and television that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” The committee selected our film that tells the story of American wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan who travel to France to bathe in the sacred waters of Lourdes. We share this with Lourdes Volunteers, Leo Eaton, Anisa Mehdi, WGBH and especially the men and women who shared their story with us. Thank you. Your heroism and service have inspired us all.


Philip Taylor 1967 – 2015

Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly on 27th March whilst editing our latest film on the poetess, Sappho. We had only known Philip for 6 weeks but in that time, he had become an integral part of the Maya Vision team and we are all deeply shocked and saddened by his passing. Philip was always cheerful, friendly and made time to help, teach and offer advice to everyone in the office on all aspects of life. Philip was interested in everything – from the latest technical developments in the TV world to how to make the best healthiest drink (sweet potato, carrot and ginger apparently!) which he generously shared with all of us. Quite apart from his renowned editing skills, it was his relentlessly positive attitude and calm presence that we all admired so much.

We held our first screening of the film for the BBC the afternoon before Philip died and everyone was delighted with what Philip had achieved in just four short weeks.  We are now working to finish what he started in his memory.

We all miss him desperately. Our thoughts are with Lalita, his wife and children, Sophie and Daniel.



Michael Wood is Dominic Sandbrook’s TV Hero in the RadioTimes



Have a look at this very flattering short piece in the Radio Times about “the best television historian there has ever been”, our very own Michael Wood.

MW Radio Times TV Hero


Michael Wood Lecture ‘Travels in India’ – 17th December 7pm


Michael is thrilled to be supporting The Angus McDonald Trust with an illustrated lecture called ‘Travels in India’ on Wednesday 17th December at 7pm at the Royal Geographical Society’s Ondaatje Theatre. Tickets are available at and include access to the exhibition @IndiasDisappearingRailways also at the RGS. Please do come along and support this exciting new charity which is donating to rural healthcare projects in Myanmar, in memory of photojournalist and travel writer Angus.


Chris Collins 1962 – 2014

Of all the people working in the British film industry that started their careers at Maya Vision perhaps the most significant was Chris Collins, Senior Development and Production Executive with the BFI Film Fund. So it was with great sadness we learned that Chris passed away at the beginning of November.
Chris joined Maya Vision in the late 80s as a production assistant quickly rising to producer and helping shape Maya Vision along the way. By ’96 Chris had moved on to become a Development and Production Executive at the BFI and later worked at the UK Film Council, with Film Four and BBC Films.
It’s testimony to Chris’s talents and personality that so many filmmakers have contributed their professional and personal reminiscences to his memory. There are plenty of stories of Chris’s time at Maya Vision too but his friends and former colleagues here would simply like to add that he was missed when he left and is deeply missed now.

A longer tribute to Chris can be found here

Please also see an Obituary in The Guardian