Andrew Marr's History of the World

Series 1 - 8. Age of Extremes

Age of Extremes
Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

Marr continues his open-top-bus-tour of history. We sit comfortably as he whisks us past familiar landmarks with a knowing commentary. We’re on 20th Century Boulevard. On our left, the rise of Hitler. On our right, Gandhi. Up ahead, Chairman Mao.

Our tour guide has diverting details up his sleeve, like the fact that Hitler advised the British viceroy in India simply to shoot Gandhi – problem solved. Marr also has that knack of summing up well-worn tales with a hint of cheek, as when he sets up Hitler with, “This is the story of the revenge of a nobody.” And at the end of the tour, his precis of the present? “We’re a clever ape in a spot of bother.”

About this programme

8/8. The broadcaster ends his chronicle of civilisation by bringing the story into the 20th century, when he believes humankind was propelled forward by technological brilliance but limited by the consequences of political failings, best demonstrated by the two world wars. Marr also touches on the more positive achievements in the fields of science and technology, as people now live longer and travel faster than their ancestors could ever have imagined, then speculates on what the future holds for a planet of seven billion people and rising.

Cast and crew


Andrew Marr


Guy Smith
Executive Producer
Chris Granlund
Guy Smith
Series Producer
Kathryn Taylor