In Search of the Trojan War Documentary Series Overview (1985)


In Search of the Trojan War is a six-part BBC TV documentary series written and presented by Michael Wood, first broadcast in 1985 on BBC2.

It examines the extent to which historical and archaeological evidence matches the tale of the Trojan War as recounted by Homer in The Iliad.


In Search of the Trojan War was the first follow-up series to Michael Wood’s initial major broadcasting success, the documentary series In Search of the Dark Ages, which the BBC had aired between 1979 and 1981.

The essence of the new series was to expand the successful format of the eight programmes of the earlier series, such that instead of searching for a single historical character in each programme, all six programmes would search for the true story behind a single historical figure, Helen of Troy.

Wood compares to what extent the historical and archaeological evidence matches with the tale of the Trojan War.

Many cities have come and gone, bearing the name Troy, in the historical record of Asia Minor. Michael Wood seeks the evidence for each of them, and analyses whether the details match Homer’s account of the city.

Michael Wood’s motivation was to seek a legend: a character as deeply embedded in the collective memory of his audience as King Arthur had been in the earlier series; he sought Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships, although, as he himself remarks, romance is something which leaves no traces in the archaeological record.

Refer to In Search of the Dark Ages (1979-1981), In Search of Myths and Heroes (2005), and In Search of Beowulf (2009).

In Search of the Trojan War Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Presenter(s):
    • Michael Wood.
  • Director(s):
    • Bill Lyons … (6 episodes, 1985).
  • Producer(s):
    • Colin Adams … executive producer (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Bill Lyons … series producer (6 episodes, 1985).
  • Writer(s):
    • Michael Wood … (written by) (6 episodes, 1985).
  • Music:
    • Terry Oldfield … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • David Pash … (6 episodes, 1985).
  • Cinematography:
    • Richard Ganniclifft … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • David Jackson … (6 episodes, 1985).
    • Robert Sleigh … (2 episodes, 1985).
  • Editor(s):
    • Helen Mandt Chew … (3 episodes, 1985).
    • Mark Elliott … (3 episodes, 1985).
    • Patrick Haggerty … (3 episodes, 1985).
    • Roy Newton … (3 episodes, 1985).
    • David Halligan … (1 episode, 1985).
  • Production:
    • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (BBC Manchester).
  • Distributor(s):
    • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (1985) (UK) (TV).
  • Release Date: 24 February 1985 to 31 March 1985.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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