Eight-part docu to recount 20,000 years of human history

They’ve already tackled “Planet Earth” and “Life.” Now Discovery and the BBC will tackle another far-reaching subject: the history of the world.

The eight-part “History of the World” aims to recount 20,000 years of human history. Project is a joint effort of Discovery Channel U.S., BBC Vision Prods., BBC Worldwide and British educational institution the Open University.

Announcement of the new project comes just a week after Discovery and the BBC extended their co-production agreement to 2014. The mega-docu BBC co-productions have become key tentpoles for Discovery’s domestic cablers. The 11-part “Life,” narrated by Oprah Winfrey, drew 9.4 million viewers in its preem last March across seven Discovery outlets.

“History of the World” is set to air sometime in 2012. The host is Brit journalist Andrew Marr, currently on air in Blighty presenting “JFK: The Making of Modern Politics” for the BBC.

“Beginning at the end of the last Ice Age and ending in our modern age, (the series will tell) the stories of real people, their civilizations, cultures, successes and crashing failures,” said Clark Bunting, prexy and g.m. of Discovery Channel and Science Channel. “A story that charts progress, development and change through the centuries and that reminds us of where we came from — and where we are now.”

Skein will feature dramatic reconstructions, computer graphics and storytelling to highlight the events, conflicts and characters that have shaped the world over the eons.

“‘History of the World’ will use the most cutting-edge production techniques, married to Andrew Marr’s expertise, to tell the ultimate, universal story of humankind,” BBC Vision topper Jana Bennett said. “It is an ideal project for our partners globally.”

Chris Granlund is exec producing “History of the World” for the BBC, while Susan Winslow is the exec producer for Discovery and Catherine McCarthy is exec producer for the Open University. Kathryn Taylor is series producer.

A BBC spokesman declined to provide the budget.

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