Back in the 80's or 90's I used to watch a history show on TV. It may have been a BBC series but it definitely had a British host. He'd normally start off talking about one thing in history, like the bubonic plague, and then connect it all together with the invention of paper. Every episode kind of wound its way through history connecting different things together. This may have been the "plot line." The show was as entertaining as it was informative. Anyone have any idea what it may have been called?

1 Answer 1


The programme you're after sounds a lot like Connections which was a BBC series hosted by James Burke.

Connections is a science education television series created, written, and presented by British science historian James Burke. The series was produced and directed by Mick Jackson of the BBC Science and Features Department and first aired in 1978 (UK) and 1979 (US). It took an interdisciplinary approach to the history of science and invention, and demonstrated how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events were built from one another successively in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology. The series was noted for Burke's crisp and enthusiastic presentation (and dry humour), historical re-enactments, and intricate working models.

It famously contained this superb bit of TV timing as he introduces a rocket launch.

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    My immediate thought. From memory, he very often finished a show by connecting back to the opening topic.
    – TripeHound
    Apr 3 at 16:41
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    Burke hosted another mini-series with a similar theme called "The Day the Universe Changed". There are two sequels to "Connections" - wittily entitled "Connections 2" and "Connections 3". I've not seen the latter but I'll trust IMDB that it exists.
    – vsfDawg
    Apr 3 at 17:00
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    @vsfDawg there is actually a new series as well, "Connections with James Burke". While it suffers from using stock footage to illustrate the story, and from re-iterating the connections several times per episode, it's worth a watch.
    – Coxy
    Apr 3 at 23:59
  • @TripeHound: Burke also wrote a column for Scientific American for several years that used the same device, including coming back full circle to the opening topic at the end. Apr 4 at 21:58
  • Ah yes this must be it. I certainly recognize the host James Burke.
    – MrInfinity
    Apr 5 at 11:56

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