The program calls for one fictional assumption: contemporary TV coverage existed when these watershed events occurred. Beyond that imaginative leap, the series possesses a meticulous authenticity: It was produced at a cost of more than $2 million and shot on location in England, Spain, and Turkey; its settings, costumes, and circumstances have been verified by expert consultants. (For a Viking scene, black-and-white cows, a genetic impossibility in 1066, were painted brown.)
Because the viewer is eyewitness to moments in history that shaped the way we are today, the series offers a wealth of discussion opportunities to compare historical events with contemporary issues. “Things do happen over and over again,” says producer Leo Eaton. “In a world, there are parallels.” Broadcasts are punctuated with “commercial breaks,” true to network news format. Ads introduce “new” medieval products—such as paper, pepper, and chimneys—in a manner both witty and revealing of cultural and technological developments.
- Each episode analyzes an entire period: TV anchor and correspondents cover history in the making with “live” action footage, background reports, and interviews with historical figures.
- A teacher’s guide accompanying each telecast identifies contemporary parallels to these significant themes, includes enrichment activities and discussion questions, and lists sources for further student research.
“It’s one of the most complex, elaborate, and expensive efforts ever produced for public television.”
(Neil Hickey, TV Guide).
“Timeline is that rarity, a show both smart and fun”
(Phil Kloer, The Atlanta Constitution).
Maryland Public Television
7 and up
30 minutes each