Fry's Planet Word

Watch Fry's Planet Word

  • 2011
  • 1 Season
  • 7.9  (329)

Fry's Planet Word is an innovative and engaging documentary series hosted by the ever-eloquent and witty Stephen Fry. The show spans across five episodes, each focusing on a different aspect of language, from the history of written language to the intricacies of language acquisition and the role that language plays in our daily lives.

The series starts off strongly with its first episode, "Babel", which explores the origins of language and the evolution of human communication. Fry travels to remote parts of the world to meet with linguists, anthropologists, and native speakers of endangered languages. Through his journey, he delves into complex scientific theories and explores the many factors that have shaped human language, from the formation of the first words to the development of grammar and syntax.

The second episode, "Identity", explores the role of language in shaping personal and cultural identity. Fry takes viewers on a journey across the globe, visiting places like Los Angeles, Scotland, Nigeria, and South Africa to explore how accents, dialects, and regional slang can both unite or divide people. The episode touches upon themes of power, politics, race, and gender identity, and how the way we speak can reflect our identities and beliefs.

In the third episode, "Uses and Abuses", Fry explores the many ways in which language can be used and abused, from propaganda to advertising, from political speeches to everyday conversations. The episode is particularly relevant in today's world of "fake news" and disinformation campaigns, and Fry provides a nuanced look at how language can be manipulated and weaponized to control people's thoughts and actions.

The fourth episode, "Spreading the Word", looks at the spread of language across the world, from the British Empire to the current era of globalization. Fry examines how language has been imposed, adopted, and adapted throughout history, and explores the many ways in which it can be used to bridge cultural divides or reinforce them.

The series concludes with "The Power and the Glory", which reflects on the many ways in which language can inspire, transform, and uplift. Fry explores how language has been used by poets, writers, and speakers throughout history to move and inspire people, from the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. to the poetry of William Shakespeare. The episode pays particular attention to the power of storytelling, and how language can be used to create empathy, understanding, and connection.

Overall, Fry's Planet Word is a fascinating and thought-provoking series that explores one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity: language. With Fry's trademark wit and erudition, the show presents a wide-ranging and accessible look at the history, structure, and function of language, and provides valuable insights into the role of language in our lives and society. Whether you're a linguistics buff or simply curious about how language works, Fry's Planet Word is a must-watch.

Fry's Planet Word
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The Power and the Glory
5. The Power and the Glory
October 23, 2011
As a species we love to tell our stories and this desire to both entertain and explain has resulted in the flowering of language to describe every aspect of the human condition. Stephen celebrates what makes a good story.
Spreading the Word
4. Spreading the Word
October 16, 2011
In this program, Stephen Fry explores "˜The Written Word'. Writing is our greatest invention -making it possible to communicate across space and time. Without writing we would have no history, and very little technology.
Uses and Abuses
3. Uses and Abuses
October 9, 2011
This program looks at the ways language is used and abused. While not everyone approves of "˜bad' language, Stephen learns that swearing plays an important part in human communication the world over.
2. Identity
October 2, 2011
What is it that defines us? Stephen argues that above all, it is the way we speak. Be it a national language, a regional dialect or even class variation - we interpret and define ourselves through our language.
1. Babel
September 25, 2011
In this first episode Stephen seeks to uncover the origins of human language and how and why we are the only species on the planet to have this gift.
  • Premiere Date
    September 25, 2011
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (329)