BBC, Discovery Channel Tackle 'History of the World'

Eight-part series will take viewers through 20,000 years of humanity.

NEW YORK -- The BBC and Discovery Channel US are partnering on History of the World, a series that will take viewers on an eight-part journey through 20,000 years of humanity.

The Open University in the U.K. and BBC Worldwide also are part of the deal.

It is the first series partnership unveiled since the BBC and Discovery Communications last week announced the end of their 13-year-old channel partnership while deciding to continue to co-produce landmark programming through 2014.

In History of the World, British journalist and political commentator Andrew Marr will narrate key moments of human history and explain how they affected the world using dramatic reconstruction and computer graphics to highlight "events, conflicts and characters that have shaped our destiny."

Featured events will range from "Cleopatra's encounter with an asp and Marco Polo's journey along the Silk Road to China to the arrest of Marie Antoinette and the firing of a bullet in Sarajevo in 1914," according to a series description.

"History of the World will use the most cutting-edge production techniques married to Andrew Marr's expertise to tell the ultimate, universal story of humankind," said Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision. She highlighted that the collaboration will help with maintaining "the BBC's reputation for the most ambitious and creative landmark factual programming and providing exceptional value for license fee payers."

History of the World will be broadcast on BBC One in 2012.

Executive producers are Chris Granlund for the BBC and Susan Winslow for Discovery Channel US. Kathryn Taylor serves as series producer. Executive producer for the Open University is Catherine McCarthy, with Jonathan Stamp serving as consultant for BBC Worldwide.