Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press

1 x 60 history / travel documentary for BBC4


 Nominated for a BAFTA (Huw Wheldon Award) 2009


'a fine documentary ... a reminder that television too, sometimes counts as a pretty decent invention' (Brian Viner, Independent)


In Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press:  The Machine That Made Us, Stephen Fry goes in search of the story behind the first media entrepreneur Johann Gutenberg (the man who invented the printing press) to find out why he did it and how.


The story combines both historical enquiry and hands on craft and technology. In the course of the story Stephen travels across Europe to find out about the lengths Gutenberg went to keep his development work secret and the role of avaricious investors and unscrupulous competitors. Stephen discovers why printing mattered so much and explains why Gutenberg’s approach started a cultural revolution.


But to really understand the man and his machine Stephen gathers a team to help him build a copy of Gutenberg’s printing press and sets himself the task of learning how to make the paper and type so that they can print as Gutenberg once did. It is through these practical trials and tests that Stephen demonstrates the brilliance of Gutenberg’s invention and brings the man and his machine to life.



Distributor: TVF International.