The Dark Ages: An Age of Light

Series 1 - 3. The Wonder of Islam

Radio Times
Review by:
David Crawford

“Sometimes I should just shut up and let you see the proof for yourself because it’s just so obvious,” declaims Waldemar Januszczak. No, Waldemar, don’t go, we need you as our learned, affable guide!

Luckily he’s sticking around for a breathtaking look at the early art and science of Islam, which is some of the most sophisticated ever. Describing the shimmering mosaics and “whispering calligraphy” at Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, his rapturous enthusiasm reaches a zenith in the art’s sensuous quality, and Islamic science’s delight in the cosmos. It’s a traditional aspect of Islamic art, which Waldemar claims has been forgotten by modern Islam. Gazing in wonderment at the great works here, you can’t help but feel that’s a crying shame.

About this programme

3/4. Waldemar Januszczak follows the journey of Islam, from its emergence in the Near East, across north Africa and into Europe, and investigates the unique artistic style the religion left behind as it travelled. The presenter also looks at the development of the Mosque, early examples of creativity by the first Muslims and their scientific achievements.

Cast and crew


Waldemar Januszczak


Waldemar Januszczak
Lidia Ciszewska