"I come from a clergy background," says Professor MacCulloch. "I've grown up with the Church and my father was a huge enthusiast for history. We talked history – quite naturally – as other families might talk football. And, so, it is a part of my being and the thing which I've always loved doing."
When asked how he and the production team went about beginning to shape this epic series, Professor MacCulloch, who studied history at Cambridge and began his research under famed historian Sir Geoffrey Elton, has a simple answer.
"Well, the most difficult thing is to get the big shapes and the big structures," he says. "And the boring answer is that I've spent my life thinking about those shapes. The thing that any teacher has got to do is provide the big structure so that we don't get bewildered by detail. And you've got to do two things with a very big story. The first thing is that you've got to tell it in the right order. But history is not quite like that – it's not that simple. It's got to have shapes within in it. Right from my very first job, in my early twenties, I got a sense that history needs to be taught in a compelling way, to be taught as stories, to be entertaining. You've got to engage emotions. The past is about the clash of human beings – their emotions, their fears and their joys. And, if you can get that across, then you give people a sense of what the shapes are."