The Struggle For Democracy (1989)
"Although the conflict and the bloodshed in the name of democracy have given us some our noblest moments, democracy itself remains one of the most flawed, confusing, threatened, and complex of human institutions.
"The Struggle for Democracy would provide a clear understanding of the origin and nature of democracy, including the extraordinary idea of citizenship, the tremendous achievement of free speech, and the enormous power placed in the hands of ordinary men and women."
That was the elevator pitch Patrick Watson - Canadian born writer, director, actor, television host, and interviewer - who went on to become Chair of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and top Canadian media lawyer Michael Levine threw at me, almost as if it was a gauntlet, over breakfast at the Royal Thames Yacht Club.
Much to their surprise, by the time we’d finished our final cup of coffee, I'd agreed Central would become a co-producer. As always I commissioned people - in this case Patrick and Michael - knowing they had a good chance of making this great idea blossom.
There was no ‘slot’ of course but as I had been asked to absorb Central’s Adult Education Department into my Features Group, I was confident we would find one for the series.
And now nearly thirty years later, with Brexit and Trump entrenched, Michael and I are discussing how to use Patrick Watson’s engaging, groundbreaking series as the foundation for a fresh look at one of the ‘most flawed, confusing, threatened, and complex of human institutions’.