What a pity that this intelligent documentary that started on Saturday night is so condensed! Boris was caught up in the Mayoral campaign after the two-part documentary had been commissioned but, ‘written and presented by’, it – so far – takes in a huge range of art, thought and world-class invited experts. The Crusades, in their swashbuckling stories-for-boys image, are given a revisionary kick. Mono-theistic religions are all given a history lesson. The academic experts are articulate and balanced. The economic arguments are merely hinted at rather than fleshed out. The art that is accessed is fantastic – but underplayed.
This could be an Attenborough-style BBC project with Boris instead of David. As it is, it shows Boris as a multi-lingual history scholar with great sensitivity to intercultural relations. Not bad for a subsequently elected Mayor of a world-rated capital.