No other period in history stirs our imaginations quite like the Middle Ages. It is an era cloaked in mystery, a time when noblemen and priors, master builders and monks were the order of the day and simple, peasant folk struggled to survive. Plagues, famines and witch burnings were commonplace. Those who questioned the authority of the Church faced the ultimate penalty – death. And yet there were some who stood up for reason and righteousness, brave men and women who were beacons of light in a time of darkness. These are the heroes and heroines of Ken Follett’s bestselling book, World Without End. Millions of readers over the world have been spellbound by Ken Follett’s brilliant and powerful heroine, Caris who wants to become a physician in a time when women are subservient and science is suspect.
Until now, Ken Follett has never hosted a primetime documentary series. For the first time, the worldwide best-selling author introduces us to the Middle Ages and the characters that inspired his blockbuster novels – The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. In this landmark two-part documentary series – produced by Tandem Communications and STORY HOUSE Productions – Follett gives us a glimpse into the world of his imagination and the extraordinary characters who have inspired him. It includes women like Hildegard von Bingen, who – like Caris – advocated new approaches to healing and medicine, the writer Marguerite Porete who, in 1300 challenged the hegemony of the Catholic Church with a revolutionary book that contained a revolutionary message. And there is Joan of Arc, who led an entire army to victory and who, through her martyrdom, gave birth to the idea of the French nation.
But who were these women who both challenged and changed the world? Why did they suddenly question what millions before had accepted without complaint? How did they succeed in challenging the ironclad rules governing faith, society, and medicine? How did they manage to curb the most terrible epidemic of all time – the plague – in a world where science had no place?
Ken Follett: “The black death was one of the most devastating pandemics in the history of human kind. It wiped out half of Europe’s population and instigated major religious, social and economic upheavals. It’s a dramatic period, an exciting and tumultuous time, the kind of time in which villains and villainesses, heroes and heroines are bound to emerge.”
Whilst taking us on a journey back in time, Follett offers viewers an intimate glimpse of his work as a writer. To build on the expected success of the “World Without End” adaptation, Follett’s documentary is divided into 2 x 1-hour which will reflect two central components of World Without End.
Sat.1, Channel 4
2x 45′, 2012