In case anybody missed it, the second part of The Ottomans on BBC2 last night (Sunday, October 13) is repeated tonight at 11.30 GMT, and will be available on iPlayer for a week. This is the BBC at its best: a broad, intelligent and much needed primer for British audiences about the importance of the Ottoman Empire in all our histories, and it should go down well with audiences around the world.
The producer, Aagil Ahmad, says he has spent 20 years trying to develop the three part 60-minute series for the BBC. Its presenter is Rageh Omaar (pictured here), who two years ago made a three-part series on the Life of Muhammad. In The Ottomans he travels around Turkey and across the Middle East, and there is an impressive line-up of academics and experts offering opinions and nuggets.
The second episode spans the time from Suleyman to Abdulhamid II, and the third and last episode (to be broadcast next Sunday and Monday) will bring the story up to date. ‘The empire was key to understanding the West’s relationship with Islam and the opening up of the Middle East after World War I’, Ahmad is reported to have said.