BBC2 and BBC4 in the UK have revealed their slates of science programming, including Human Universe, featuring professor Brian Cox, and Icon Films’ Sleepover at the Zoo.
Human Universe, a 5 x 60-minute series to air on BBC2, aims to look at the big questions: who are we, are we alone, why are we here, and what is our destiny.
Also for BBC2, Inside the Wildfire sees TV presenter Kate Humble journey to Australia to witness the peak of wildfire season. In the Dragonfly-produced, two-part special, Humble has access to frontline experts as well as Australia’s two largest fire departments, and looks at how bushfires begin, spread, and are stopped.
Passionate Productions’s The Trial highlights a long-term project that follows patients taking part in a clinical trial that aims to find a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
The controversial trial sees patients in the placebo group undergoing invasive brain surgery, while the series marks the first time television cameras have been allowed to capture a medical trial in-depth.
Cloud Lab features a team of British scientists as they fly across the U.S. in the world’s largest airship, the Skyship 600, in a month-long expedition to explore the atmosphere.
The team – made up meteorologist Felicity Aston, entomologist Dr Sarah Beynon, and doctors Chris Van Tulleken and Jim McQuaid – will examine a range of subjects including insects, the relationship between trees and the air we breathe, and attempt to predict where a hurricane is likely to hit.
BBC4 will complement Cloud Lab with films including An Ocean Of Air, which looks to find out who truly discovered oxygen, using reconstructions, archive and experiments.
The line-up also includes factual drama Castles In The Sky, which tells the story of the invention of radar, and stars Eddie Izzard.
BBC4 is also featuring a season focusing on the human body, with Infested tasking Michael Mosley to infect himself with parasites to give insight into how some are dangerous but new evidence shows others may be beneficial.
In Dissected: The Incredible Human Hand and Dissected: The Incredible Human Foot, Dr. George McGavin and anatomy experts take apart a human hand and foot to show what makes them unique; while in the six-part series Secret of Bones, primatologist Ben Garrod shows how the skeleton has shaped the evolution of the animal kingdom.
Professor John Wass looks at all we know about Hormones, in a one-off from FurnaceTV; Lion TV’s Fossil Wonderlands: Nature’s Hidden Treasures is a three-part series that finds Professor Richard Fortey traveling to some of the greatest fossil sites in the world; and Icon Films’ Sleepover At the Zoo follows Liz Bonnin and a team of experts tracking the sleep patterns of animals in a TV event that uses a number of camera rigs to watch animal behavior over 12 hours at the Bristol Zoo.
All of the programs were commissioned by BBC2 and BBC4 controller Janice Hadlow, BBC4 editor Cassian Harrison and Kim Shillinglaw, head of commissioning for science and natural history.
“We’re committed to finding ever more ambitious ways to bring science alive to our viewers, as demonstrated by the sheer creative range of what we are announcing, from landmark series and ground-breaking science journalism to drama with leading actors and distinctive television events,” said Shillinglaw in a statement.
“In this season I want us to lay bare what an eccentric, surprising and bizarre place the human body really is – from the trampolines of fat that are hidden in our every heel, to the microscopic creatures that have evolved to live in bliss in our hair, to the chemical potions that can turn us from lover to murderer in seconds – this is the human body seen as a landscape as diverse and thrilling as that of an entire planet,” added Harrison.