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First aired in 1973, The Ascent of Man is a 13-part documentary series written and presented by the brilliant Dr Jacob Bronowski, and produced by the BBC. The series is based on a namesake book by Bronowski in which he tells the fascinating and quite unbelievable story of the development of civilisation as we today know it - that is, the story of The Ascent of Man.
This series received serious acclaim for its accessibility to the layman (in large-part due to Bronowski's skillful, elegant, incisive storytelling ability) and the wide-range and quality of the location shoots.
Not many people know about this incredible series, lesser still of the wonderful host. Unfortunately it never quite received the same attention as Cosmos and Carl Sagan - a show which, incidentally, was produced by the guy (Adrian Malone) seven years later. The title is also a clever allusion to Charles Darwin's second book on evolution, The Descent of Man.
I struggled to find this show on the web, and the copies on Youtube when I last viewed them were awful. On viewing this you can judge for yourself whether risking a copyright battle with the BBC et al was/is worth it.
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