Andrew Marr's History of the World

Age of Extremes

Series 1 - Episode 8 Age of Extremes



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.”


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 & Crew

Presenter Andrew Marr
Director Guy Smith
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
Producer Guy Smith
Series Producer Kathryn Taylor