The printing press was the worldGÇÖs first piece of mass-production technology. Its invention in the 1450s changed the world as dramatically as splitting the atom or sending men into space, igniting a cultural revolution which shaped the modern age. In this BAFTA nominated program, wordsmith and national treasure, Stephen Fry, embarks on a journey to investigate, Johann Gutenberg, the elusive inventor of the printing press. Stephen's detective work reveals the lengths to which Gutenberg went to keep his project secret to avoid his ideas being stolen by competitors and uncovers why printing mattered so much in medieval Europe. To learn the processes and challenges, Stephen commissions a modern day craftsman to build a working replica of the original 15th Century machine. He makes authentic paper and tries to master the arcane art of punch-cutting GÇô the process by which moveable type is actually produced. Once the press is complete, heGÇÖll attempt to print with it, using 15th century materials. At its heart, this is not simply a story about paper, ink and metal type but one about flesh and blood characters driven by some recognisably modern forces: money, power, ambition, betrayal, bloody religious conflict and industrial espionage. Can Stephen's attempts match the monumental achievement of Gutenberg's medieval craftsmen?
Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press
A world changing invention... A cultural revolution... The machine that made us.