Monday 5 October 2020

by the skin of our teeth

As successor to the National Educational Television (NET) network, PBS began broadcasting to American audiences on this day in 1970.

No longer burdened with the responsibility of promoting domestic programming only (suggested under the former station identification), it was able to supplement its heirloom line-up of Sesame Street and The French Chef with foreign produced pieces (see also) and premiered with the airing over the next several weeks of the thirteen part BBC documentary Civilisation, developed by David Attenborough and presented by Sir Kenneth Clark. The show-makers fully cognizant of their biases and limited perspective that recast history from the Dark Ages through to the early twentieth from an exclusively western European angle, the series’ subtitle was A Personal View by Kenneth Clark—perhaps a disclaimer too subtle for many.