Michael Wood is the writer and presenter of many critically acclaimed series on television, including Art of the Western World, Legacy, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great and Conquistadors. He is author of over seventy TV films that have been shown worldwide and of several best selling and highly praised books.
He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Oriel College Oxford where he did postgraduate research in Anglo-Saxon history. Since then he has worked as a journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker. His films have centred on history, but have included travel (Great Railway Journeys of the World; River Journeys; The Sacred Way); politics (Saddam's Killing Fields: an award winning account of the destruction of the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq) and cultural history (the award winning Hitler's Search for the Holy Grail, 1999: a study of the abuse of history and archaeology under the Nazis).
Conquistadors, his last four part series followed four epic journeys during the Spanish Conquest of the New World. They were broadcast by the BBC in Nov/Dec 2000 (repeated July/Aug 2001) and in the US by PBS in May 2001. That year the series shared with Inspector Morse the accolade of the best reviewed TV series of the year.
Among Michael Wood's special interests Greece has always figured prominently since he hitched around it in his teens and slept out on the mountainsides of Mycenae, Mistra and Crete. He has made 15 films in Greece and among his publications are In Search of the Trojan War (on the archaeology of Homer and the Bronze Age) and In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (both recently published in new editions by the BBC and, in the US, the University of California Press) These books have been translated into a number of European languages, including Greek. He hopes to start a further series on ancient Greek culture next year.
Indian civilisation has also long been a special interest: Over the years Michael Wood has made a dozen visits to India and in addition to his films, Darshan and Legacy, he has written The Smile of Murugan, about a small town in Tamil Nadu and its annual pilgrimage: reissued by John Murray May 2002 this was reviewed as "one of the most enlightening books on South India ever written".
His academic background was in early medieval English history; among his publications are In Search of the Dark Ages and Domesday. He published a recent series of medieval essays as In Search of England. Among its many reviews the Times Literary Supplement said: "Better than any historian for decades, Wood brings home not just the ways in which buildings, landscapes
and written texts may be read, but the sensual beauty of encounters with them". Michael Wood was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2001.
He is currently working on a book and a four part TV series for BBC/PBS, The Life and Times of William Shakespeare to be broadcast during spring 2003.
Michael Wood lives in North London with his wife and their two daughters, who are already good travellers, and who visit Greece every year.