UK's interest in China boosted by BBC TV series

Updated: 2016-01-25 13:14

By Samantha Vada(

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UK's interest in China boosted by BBC TV series

Professor Michael Wood is seen in this screenshot from the trailer of BBC's new TV series The Story of China.

"One of the themes is how the Chinese, who invented so many things, teases a Western audience with the idea they invented football," Wood says.

"We have a bit of fun with that and we go to the crunch Premier League match of the season in Beijing."

The Story of China series debuted just six months after a ground-breaking three-part documentary on Chinese education which sparked a heated debate in China and the UK.

Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School, which aired on the BBC last August, put 50 students from Bohunt School in Hampshire, southern England through their paces by being taught by five Chinese teachers in the Chinese way for a month.

Pupils were required to wear a special uniform, start school at 7 am, clean their own class rooms and focus on note-taking and repetition – a stark contrast to what they were used to.

The first episode was watched by 1.8 million viewers in the UK, almost ten percent of that evening's TV audience.

It also created a three-week long social media frenzy about varying education systems in both Britain and China.

Associate Producer of The Story of China, Tina Li, says that while Wood's documentary has already created a huge buzz in China online, the reaction will be somewhat different to Chinese School.

"It's very spontaneous, there's no staging and it's very real and it's done with a lot of heart, not for shock value and it's not sensationalized."

Producer and Director of the program, Rebecca Dobbs, says they've tried to see things from the perspective of the Chinese.