Sir Kenneth Clarke’s Civilization gets 21st century reboot and heads to PBS, BBC2 this Spring


Civilization, Sir Kenneth Clarke’s epic 1969 series about Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages, is getting a long overdue 21st century makeover and will air on PBS and BBC2 this Spring. Retitled Civilizations, the new 9-part series will be hosted by noted English historian and Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, Simon Schama, along with Mary Beard and David Olusoga. It must be big as the reboot has added an ‘S’ to the title and it will take three presenters this time around to do the work Sir Kenneth Clarke did on the first series almost 5 decades ago.

(C) BBC – Photographer: Pete Dadds

To this day, the original 1969 series is considered to be one of the seminal early series that put PBS on the map along with An American Family, The Great American Dream Machine, The French Chef  and Sesame Street. Almost four years in the making, the new series will explore the entire span of art history from marks made on cave walls to present day masterpieces in order to introduce a new generation to great masterworks.

While the newest effort will take advantage of and definitely benefit from technological and production advancements since the 1969 series, the mission stays the same in wanting to show a new generation “the power of art and creativity across the world – from the dawn of civilization to today.”  

Civilizations premieres Tuesday, April 17 at 8:00pET/7:00pCT on PBS with a ‘Spring 2018’ broadcast on BBC2 still yet to be determined.