Tuesday 9pm – 10pm, BBC2
If anyone can captivate and draw in an audience about a science documentary, it’s the charismatic and engaging Professor Brian Cox. His tone, enthusiasm and explanations have turned even the most negative opinions about education into being engrossed in a variety of topics. This series about the planets is no different – you’ll be hooked. This co-produced project with the Open University uses data from 10 years of recent scientific discoveries to bring the extraordinary story of planets to the screen, with detailed CGI bringing them to life. We explore the formation of the planets 4.6 billion years ago, many of which formed of the same material but ended up with very different characteristics.
Cox’s phrases and expressions over the fate of the planets are brilliant posed and bring the assimilation of the cosmic development to a level everyone can understand. The professor explains how other planets in our solar system are not so different to ours and how each had a “moment in the sun” when life might have been able to develop if it wasn’t for certain events. He explains how Mercury was very close to being able to support life until it was struck by something in a game of cosmic billiards and it was sent into a different orbit, dooming it to be a “small, tortured world”. He also explains how Jupiter almost destined none of us to exist as it almost destroyed the earth! Explaining the Grand Tack Model, it reveals how after destroying a large part of the early solar system, Jupiter was only stopped by the gravity on Saturn – saving the Earth, and subsequently ensuring we could all exist.
He would have been the sort of science teacher we would have all wanted. His description of the greenhouse gas problem on Venus is genius, “There is a thin line between heating a planet up and frying it”. The University of Manchester physicist has spent years educating a nation with leading BBC documentaries covering subjects such as Forces of Nature and the Human Universe. The 51 year old’s passion for science and educating is clear, when asked what it’s meant to him to reach so many he stated “Science is one of the ways we understand what it means to be human”
An incredibly interesting series which has been excellently made.
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