The Story of China with Michael Wood

Michael Wood / Story of China / History

BBC Two and PBS’s landmark documentary series, The Story of China, written and presented by historian Michael Wood, explores the history of the world’s oldest continuous state, from the ancient past to the present day.

Home to over a billion people, China is the new superpower, a country we all want to understand now, and Wood argues that to do so we have to look at its history. Travelling across the country he explores the landscapes, peoples, stories and cultures that have helped create China’s distinctive character and genius over more than four thousand years.

Journeying along the Silk Route, down the Grand Canal, and across the plain of the Yellow River, where Chinese civilisation began, Wood meets people from all walks of life, visiting China’s most evocative landscapes and exploring ancient cities like Xian, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

He’ll trace some of the great moments in Chinese history – from their extraordinary voyages of exploration before Columbus, to amazing scientific inventions before the European Renaissance: he’ll even show that the Chinese invented football!

A grand sweep narrative, full of big ideas and unexpected surprises, the series shows how the Chinese created their own distinctive vision of the world: a vision that is still alive in the 21st century and indeed, Wood argues, is the real motor behind the incredible and growing success of China today.


See the extensive PBS official website featuring a comprehensive history of China timeline, dynastic maps, interactive games, photo gallery and a Q&A with Michael.


Written & Presented by:
Michael Wood

Rebecca Dobbs

Executive Producers:
Sally Thomas
Leo Eaton
Martin Davidson

Gerry Branigan
Aleksandar Nikolic
Jullian Rodd

Howard Davidson

Peter Harvey
Jeremy Jeffs
David Tong
Bosie Vincent
Jon Wood
Shi Xu

Mick Duffield

Associate Producer:
Tina Sijiao Li

Susanna Thornton


Broadcast 2016 on BBC2 and 2017 on PBS

The BBC version is available to buy on iTunes, Amazon Prime and DVD

The PBS version is available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD