“It won’t be the Auntie that dispensed culture from on high. It will be much more of a thoughtful friend. Prodding us to keep our resolutions, helping us ask and find answers.“Just as any friendship, it will be mutual. With our audiences asking the questions, helping choose and curate, reflecting and taking part.”Pledging he would not “turn the clock back” to what some considered the glory days of BBC factual, he added it would now aim for “expertise, without the elitism”.In particular, Purnell said, the new Civilisation would not follow in the footsteps of Kenneth Clarke’s seminal 1960s version in which the polymath bestrode the globe educating viewers. The BBC has pledged to eradicate “elitism” from its documentaries to help a new generation understand them, as it says its new version of Civilisation will be the “opposite” of the original landmark series.James Purnell, director of strategy, said the BBC would now be a “trusted friend” to guide people to knowledge rather than bestow it from a position of authority.The updated Civilisation, he said, will raise questions rather than simply present expertise, as he warned younger generations expect to be more involved in programming.In a blog published by the BBC, Purnell said: “The BBC that turns a hundred will have come a long way from its beginnings. The 2017 update will be “ in many ways the opposite of the original”, he said. “Rather than a single view of civilisation, we will have three presenters.Rather than looking at Western civilisation, we will look at many, and question the very concept of civilisation.”He also highlighted a national conversation about science, and a new Radio 4 series from form British Museum director Neil McGregor on Faith and Society.Rather than dumbing down to chase young audiences, Purnell said, the BBC would merely “achieve these goals differently” by ensuring they feel “involved”.He also highlighted the concern for “fake news”, suggesting the BBC “can be a trusted guide through that abundance” of information. Prof Mary Beard, one of three new Civilisation presenters Kenneth Clarke in his Civilisation heyday Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.