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PBS/BBC: People’s Century – #12/26 – 1945 – Brave New World


People’s Century is a television documentary series examining the 20th century. It was a joint production of the BBC in the United Kingdom and PBS member station WGBH Boston in the United States. The series was first shown on BBC in the 1995, 1996 and 1997 television seasons before being shown elsewhere in the world and before being broadcast in the USA in 1998.

The 26 one-hour episodes examined the socio-economic, political, and cultural movements that shaped the 20th century. The series represented a departure from documentaries that present history through recounting the actions of great men; People’s Century considers the century from the perspective of common people. Most of those interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and who give personal accounts of the manner in which the developments and disruptions of the 20th century affected their lives.

The British version was narrated by Sean Barrett and Veronika Hyks, the American version by actors John Forsythe and Alfre Woodard. People’s Century was co-produced by the BBC and WGBH with executive producers Peter Pagnamenta and Zvi Dor-Ner, respectively, along with producer David Espar.

The opening credits depict various images from the century, accompanied with a theme music score by Zbigniew Preisner. The documentary won an International Emmy Award, among others.

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