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1. In Search of the Dark Ages

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In Search of the Dark Ages

In Search of the Dark Ages was a television series, written and presented by Michael Wood, and first shown in 1979. It is also the title of a book written by Wood to support the series, which was published in 1981. The television series consisted of a series of separate programmes, hence the collective title is often written as In Search of ... The Dark Ages. It began with In Search of Offa, recorded in 1978 by BBC Manchester, and shown on 2 January 1979. Subsequent programmes in the first series were on Boadicea, King Arthur and Alfred the Great, shown with a re-run of Offa over successive nights in March 1980. The first series was such a success when shown in an off-peak slot on BBC Two that a second series was broadcast in 1981, with subjects including William the Conqueror, Ethelred the Unready, Athelstan and Eric Bloodaxe. Michael Wood's looks, speaking voice and infectious enthusiasm were generally regarded as being key to the success of the original series. The series made Wood's career, and, whilst remaining an Anglo-Saxon specialist, he subsequently branched out into series on other aspects of history, several of which had similar titles, e.g. In Search of the Trojan War. Contemporary reviews of the accompanying book included comments such as: