Programme four, the concluding episode of Melvyn Bragg's history of the English language, looks at how in the 20th century the rise of America as an industrial power has made it the driving force behind the global spread of English.
American English and British English developed in parallel. The cinema, the American GI, the Cold War and modern consumerism have all spread English around the globe.
The language is now used by more people ever before in history, but will this result in the development of a series of mutually unintelligible dialects around the world?
English is changing today, both abroad and at home. Melvyn Bragg travels through Britain to find what cultural influences affect the way people use English, what new words are coming into everyday use, and how the Oxford English Dictionary - the greatest repository of the language - keeps up with these developments.
Directed by Nigel Wattis