Paul Merton's Birth of Hollywood

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Paul Merton's Birth of Hollywood
Genre Documentary
Created by Paul Merton
Written by Paul Merton
Suki Webster
Directed by Paul Merton
Theme music composer Neil Brand
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 3
Executive producer(s) Michael Poole
Producer(s) Kate Broome
Running time 58 min.
Production company(s) BBC
Original network BBC Two
Picture format 1080i
Original release 27 May – 10 June 2011

Paul Merton's Birth of Hollywood is a 2011 BBC documentary series written, directed and presented by Paul Merton. The three-part series traces the rise of the American film-making industry in Hollywood through from the early years of film-making to the foundation of the major motion-picture studios and the new class of the film star.


# Title Original air date Ratings
1 "Episode 1" 27 May 2011 (2011-05-27) 2.03m
Episode one follows the rise of the American industry from its beginnings with Thomas Edison and his Motion Picture Patents Company, and looks at figures such as the Biograph girl Mary Pickford, the controversial film pioneer D.W. Griffith, the origins of Charlie Chaplin, the foundation of United Artists and the industry's move from New York to the orange groves of Hollywood, California.[1]
2 "Episode 2" 3 June 2011 (2011-06-03) 1.73m
Moving towards the 1920s, Merton examines how conservative American lobbyists, fresh from obtaining prohibition, now turned their attention to the unregulated film industry. Merton views this through a study of the career of the silent film star Roscoe Arbuckle and how a false accusation led to his expulsion from the industry and as an excuse for instigating film self-censorship. Meanwhile, Merton looks at the effect of the First World War and the flamboyance of directors such as Cecil B. DeMille.[2]
3 "Episode 3" 10 June 2011 (2011-06-10) 1.54m
The rise of the Hollywood film studios in the 1930s is told through the story of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. MGM's powerful young producer, Irving Thalberg, challenged the power of the director in making films and refused to allow his own name to appear in his films' credits.[3]


  1. ^ "Episode 1". BBC Online. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Episode 2". BBC Online. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Episode 3". BBC Online. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 

External links[edit]