Our world is defined by the failure of communism, the rise of market economics, and by the power of politicised religion. All of these forces came together in the dramatic year of 1979.

The Islamic revolution in Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland, the opening of China under Deng Xiaoping, Great Britain's neoliberal shift under Margaret Thatcher and the invasion of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan – these are just some of the key events that took place in 1979. Forty years on, the effects of these events are more apparent than ever before. Ongoing crises in the Middle East, expanding terrorist networks, never-ending conflict in Afghanistan, but also China's rapid rise to world power, the omnipresent issue of Brexit and the EU's position in the world – they all have their origins in 1979. We link the global political events of 1979 to the political environment today – at a time when change is taking place all over the world at an increasingly fast pace. Who were the great global actors of that time, the architects of history? How do their decisions still influence our world today? A dynamic, investigative documentary that looks back at the past to explain the present.

Copyright Pictures: Yorkshire Post, Errol Morris / New York Times, Outremer Film GmbH, Hengameh Golestan