Remember ‘Tomorrow’s World’? The BBC primetime innovation show that first introduced us to such jaw-dropping inventions as the breathalyser, the pocket calculator, the digital watch and the compact disc player.
Well, it’s inspired a brand new look at the science around us, and it’s gone large.
The BBC announced today a year-long campaign of programmes across all its platforms, including TV, radio and podcasts, under the familiar-sounding banner of ‘Tomorrow’s World’.
Equally familiar-sounding is its mission to “take science out of the lab and into people’s homes, as we seek to address how science is changing people’s lives, reshaping the world and rewriting the future of healthcare.
“Our aim is to make science personal.”
The title of the campaign has been taken from one of the BBC’s most successful, long-running programmes, which ran from 1965 to 2003. Presenters included Raymond Baxter, Michael Rodd, Kieran Prendiville, Maggie Philbin, Anna Ford, Monty Don, Carol Vorderman, Craig Doyle and Philippa Forrester.
Perhaps the best-remembered item in the programme’s history was the introduction of the compact disc in 1981, when Kieran Prendiville demonstrated the disc’s alleged indestructibility by spreading strawberry jam on a Bee Gees CD.
With more than 40 hours of programming promised, highlights include:
‘Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth’ - the astronomer will present his predictions that the human race only has one hundred years before we need to colonise another planet in Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth for BBC Two
‘How to Stay Young’ Series 2 - Angela Rippon and Chris van Tulleken continue to investigate latest scientific knowledge to help volunteers slow down the ageing process
‘Toughest Job In The Universe’ - Following 12 men and women as they undertake elements of the astronaut selection process in for BBC Two
‘Horizon: Being Transgender’ - Exploring what it means and what happens when a person transitions psychologically, physically and biologically for BBC Two
‘Fixing The Future: Michael Mosley Vs. The Superbug’ - The presenter studies what can be done to combat resistance to antibiotics
‘Fixing The Future: The Great Village Green War’ - Following green energy enthusiast Robert Llewellyn’s year-long campaign to persuade the residents of a Cotswolds village to generate their own power
A Digital Hub, bringing together science institutions from across the UK for the first time. To engage people who want to know more and debate these topics, the digital hub at www.bbc.co.uk/tomorrowsworld, will offer short films, a series of citizen science opportunities to engage with the audience, interactive calculators and many other interactive features.
There will also be Twitter Q&As with some of Britain’s most eminent scientists; online debates about the biggest scientific questions of our time; and a Facebook community where “even the most colossal concepts are accessible, relevant and personal”.
The BBC’s Director-General, Tony Hall, says of the venture:
“We’ve come together behind a simple, and very bold ambition - to equip all of us with the knowledge and understanding we need to make sense of our lives and the future.
“Whether it’s the rise of robotics or the demise of antibiotics, travelling to Mars or the arrival of 3D printed food. Science is changing the world at an extraordinary pace.
“The campaign will connect audiences with the brightest minds and institutions in science and technology.”