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Open your eyes to a world of treasures
on 19 April 2008
How do you pick 80 artefacts, places or things which represent what humans have done over thousands of years? A great deal of in-depth knowledge helps, for a start. Dan Cruickshank certainly has that. This series is the story of how he travelled to 40 countries in search of the treasures on his list. Some are well known: the Taj Mahal; the Parthenon; the Great Wall of China (but no less impressive just because of their fame.) Others are less famous: Leptis Magna in Libya (I knew nothing of this before watching the programme); Angkor Wat in Cambodia; the underground city of Goreme in Turkey. There are surprising choices, too: the Volkswagen Beetle, the Seagram building in New York and the Sydney Harbour bridge. Dan Cruickshank has a distinctive presentation style and his vocal inflexions take a little getting used to but we can forgive him this because of his overwhelming enthusiasm for everything he sees. He interprets the treasures and places them in context for the layman without ever being patronising. If you like to see the world but don't feel you'll ever get to these far flung places, watch this series. It's an astonishing eye-opener.