Television news

Ideas That Changed The World

BBC World News from Saturday 30 November for six weeks

Our world has been transformed by inspired ideas that we take for granted. Wherever we go, whatever we eat, however we live, it has all been shaped by Eureka moments. And these ideas are continuing to shape our future, the ideas that changed our world. 

Ideas That Changed The World reveals the innovative ideas that have dramatically changed our lives and enhanced the world we live in. The jet engine; radio waves; concrete; antibiotics – these are just some of the world-changing ideas explored in this engaging journey through the history of man’s inventions and discoveries, all of which have shaped our understanding of the world and affect our daily lives. Over the course of six programmes, the series contemplates the impact these great ideas will continue to have on our future, and how they came to be world changing ideas in the first place. Their unique stories are told by experts who have been inspired and those whose work follows in the footsteps of the men and women whose great ideas changed the world - an international cast of top scientists, architects, historians, physicians and business leaders. 

Our ‘Champions’ include New York chef David Chang, astronomer Seth Shostak, White House Doctor Connie Mariano, neurologist and author Oliver Sacks and former UK Chancellor Alistair Darling.  All 24 experts examine not only how the topics covered changed our world, but look ahead and give their predictions on how they see their areas of interest developing in the future. 

Ideas That Changed The World explores six Big Ideas: Architecture, Aviation, Medicine, Food, Communication and the Economy. With the help of our international cast of experts and specialists we examine four world changing aspects of each Big Idea.


24 world changing ‘Ideas’, 24 ‘champions’ of them. 

Episode 1 – Saturday 30 October - Architecture:
The Arch, Concrete, Climate Control and the Elevator have shaped how we live. 

Episode 2 – Saturday 6 November - Food:
how the Recipe, Nitrogen Fertilizer, Cross-Breeding and Genetics have shaped our palettes. 

Episode 3 – Saturday 13 November - Medicine:
We open the medicine cabinet on Qi, the Microscope, Antibiotics and Music Therapy. 

Episode 4 – Saturday 20 November - Aviation:
The revolutions in flight that have transformed all our lives from the Jet, to Kites, to the Wright Brothers and Aerodynamics.

Episode 5 – Saturday 27 November - Economy:
They affect us all – Money, Banking, the Company and Taxes. 

Episode 6 – Saturday 4 December - Communication:
The revolutions in communication from the Telegraph, the Radio, Photography and the Library.


Brett Irwin, Toby Marter, Peter Mountford

Head of Production:
Andrew McKerlie

Production Manager:
Carrie Pennifer

Hugo Mander, Thomas Viner

Executive Producer for BBC:
Paul Gibbs

Executive Producer:
Kate Botting

Series Producer/Director:
David Shulman


Scheduled transmission times