This was the first modern, brilliant, expense-no-object TV super-documentary
colour series, which paved the way for David Attenborough's later ones.
Clark emerges as a very personable and appropriately intellectual presenter
with a deep knowledge and love of his subject. He speaks to camera with a
refreshing ability to dispense with the usual memory aids.
The title was slightly misleading as it's mainly visual art and the
development of social conscience that is covered; law and most philosophy were
ignored as not appropriate for the visual spectacle this series aimed to
provide. A desired episode covering 17th century classicism also had to be
omitted as the dictates of TV commerce only allowed 13 episodes.
Within those limitations this production, a real work of art in itself,
presents an enthralling traverse that culminates in a fast-moving and memorable
last episode looking warily towards a future of “Heroic Materialism” .
It's a classic that won't date, technically or culturally. Also, a