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BBC4 picks up Nutopia’s “Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer”

U.K. prodco Nutopia’s new four-part series, Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer, has found a home on BBC4 and iPlayer. The series studies the science and medical innovations ...
April 8, 2021

U.K. prodco Nutopia’s new four-part series, Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer, has found a home on BBC4 and iPlayer. The series studies the science and medical innovations that conquered some of the world’s deadliest diseases and doubled life expectancies for many around the world.

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga (pictured; Civilisations, Black & British: A Forgotten History) and best-selling author Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map, How We Got To Now) join forces to lead viewers across 300 years of medical innovation and go behind the scenes of modern medicine to meet the unsung heroes who are tackling COVID-19 and other public health threats.

“The revolution in medicine and public health that has taken place over the past three centuries is one of the greatest achievements of all time,” Olusoga said in a statement. “The series is a history of unsung heroes and forgotten pioneers whose incredible stories deserve to be better known.”

“Now more than ever, we need powerful storytelling that captures and explains the achievements in public health and medicine over the past few centuries,” Johnson added. “The fact that we have doubled life expectancy may well be the single most important development in modern history.”

The series features prominent public health authorities and scientists working on the frontlines of the pandemic and explores how the pioneering approaches and innovative medical triumphs of the past provided a blueprint for our future in the battle to live longer.

Each episode will explore one aspect of public health that has played a central role in the battle to live longer.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this very timely series with David Olusoga and Steven Johnson, tracking key breakthroughs in science and medicine and the incredible impact this has had on our lives,” Mandy Chang, BBC commissioning editor, said in a statement. “Taking four critical subjects: vaccination, data, behavioural change and medicine, the stories in each of these episodes demonstrate how the past can help us understand the present, as we face and deal with the coronavirus pandemic and David and Steven’s journeys through these compelling stories will resonate deeply with us all.”

The series is executive produced by Jane Root, Nicola Moody, Fiona Caldwell and Steven Johnson, and directed by Duncan Singh, Helen Sage, Tristan Quinn, David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg.

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