In Search of the Trojan War

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In Search of the Trojan War
Region 1 DVD cover
Genre History documentary
Written by Michael Wood
Directed by Bill Lyons
Presented by Michael Wood
Composer(s) Terry Oldfield
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 6
Running time approximately 345 minutes in total
Production company(s) BBC
Picture format 4:3
Original release 24 February 1985 (1985-02-24) – 31 March 1985 (1985-03-31)

In Search of the Trojan War is a 6-part BBC TV documentary series written and presented by Michael Wood, first broadcast in 1985. It examines the extent to which historical and archeological evidence matches the tale of the Trojan War as recounted by Homer in The Iliad.[1]

It is also the title of a book written by Michael Wood based on the series.[2]

In part, it is the saga of a man in love with the idea of the legendary war, and its legendary heroine, and of his search to prove that the epic poem by Homer was based upon real events; though he leaves no stone unturned, and snatches at no quick or easy answers.

It bears all the traditional hallmarks of Michael Wood's work: impeccable scholarship, an abiding love for the subject, a fascination with the legend, and an ability to convey the romance of the subject without sacrificing the truth behind it.

Terry Oldfield and David Pash are credited with the original musical score.

In Search of... Helen of Troy[edit]

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.

Did she really exist? Did the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann really find Troy? Did the Heroes really exist? Was there really a siege? Was there really a Wooden Horse? In short, was Homer's Iliad a true story? These are the questions Michael Wood poses in the first programme, and tries to answer in the final one, having gone through an impressive quantity of evidence in between.

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.


  • 1985-02-24 : Episode 1: The Age of Heroes[3]
  • 1985-03-03 : Episode 2: The Legend Under Siege
  • 1985-03-10 : Episode 3: The Singer of Tales
  • 1985-03-17 : Episode 4: The Women of Troy
  • 1985-03-24 : Episode 5: The Empire of the Hittites
  • 1985-03-31 : Episode 6: The Fall of Troy