Andrew Marr's History of the World

Age of Industry

Series 1 - Episode 7 Age of Industry



What they say about there being space on top of a large waffle for all the famous Belgian people might be true, but Andrew Marr raises a shudder-inducing Belgian name: Leopold II. As part of his survey of the Industrial Revolution, Marr starts with a faintly ridiculous story (about the king of the Belgians trying to big up his status by buying a colony, any colony) and ends with genocide.

It’s the most potent piece of history from a series whose material is, inevitably, getting more familiar and less exciting as it gets more recent, though valiant attempts to contextualise each of the stories go a long way.


The broadcaster considers how the Industrial Revolution helped create the modern world, as the remnants of a feudal society - aristocratic landowners, serfs and peasant farmers - were superseded by machines, cities and capitalists. However, many resisted this sweeping change, leading to bitter battles between the modernisers and those who rejected the new way of life. In Europe, countries competed to create vast empires that spanned the world, sparking intense competition that contributed to the outbreak of the First World War.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Andrew Marr
Director Robin Dashwood
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
Producer Robin Dashwood
Series Producer Kathryn Taylor