Empire (2012 TV series)

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Series title in brickwork against cracked sand back
Written byJeremy Paxman
Directed byJohn Hay
Roger Parsons
Robin Dashwood
David Vincent
Presented byJeremy Paxman
Theme music composerChris Nicolaides
ComposerChris Nicolaides
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes5
Executive producersBasil Comely (BBC)
Catherine McCarthy (Open University)
ProducerJulian Birkett
CinematographyMike Garner
EditorAndrea Carnevali
Running time55–60 minutes
Production companiesThe Open University, BBC productions CoProduction
Original networkBBC
Original release27 February (2012-02-27) –
26 March 2012 (2012-03-26)

Empire is a 2012 BBC and Open University co-production, written and presented by Jeremy Paxman, charting the rise of the British Empire from the trading companies of India to the rule over a quarter of the world's population and its legacy in the modern world.[1]


A book, Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British, and a region 2 DVD Empire accompany the series.[citation needed]


The series was criticised by some for its handling of controversial material while trying to avoid offense to numerous stakeholders and audiences. Associate editor of The Guardian, Michael White, said that "the structure of the programme was ramshackle" and he found the narrative to be "episodic and superficial". He said that Paxman "was diffident charm itself", as opposed to treating "the former subjects of empire with his customary ... abrasiveness". While White also found "the photography pretty as always", he concluded that "the overall effect was curiously patronising, serving to reinforce the impression that the great man was basically on a jolly and going through the motions".[2]

Stuart Jeffries, also for The Guardian, offered similar views, concluding that "Jeremy Paxman fails to argue strongly enough".[3]


  1. ^ "BBC One - Empire". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ White, Michael (28 February 2012). "Jeremy Paxman's Empire: a wasted chance we need to take". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Stuart Jeffries (27 February 2012). "TV review: Empire; David Hockney: The Art of Seeing | Television & radio". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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