Friday 7 March 2014, 10:42
I’ve been interested in the First World War since I was a boy, but I’ve always found it so hard to understand how people allowed it to happen.
The process of writing 37 Days gave me a real insight into why we went to war – something I hope the viewer will grasp as well.
So how do you get your head around the few short weeks that changed the world forever?
Well the producer Sue Horth and I compiled a 175-page 'war book', which broke down the 37 days.The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo set off a chain of events
I traced every conference, every telephone call, private letter and telegram swirling around Europe.
This helped me understand what my main characters would have known and said. I was also keen not to break any major timelines in the plot.
Writing 37 Days did change my perspective of war. I started thinking Europe had slept-walked into war and all the nations were equally to blame.
But I came to think that it was the German war machine that gave the crucial push.
I think the German high-command didn’t have the will to stop the war as they saw a conflict with Russia as inevitable.
It was important to understand the predicaments of...
Tuesday 25 February 2014, 10:55
I'm an evolutionary biologist, specialising in primate adaptation and evolution.
My work now focuses on studying often-small physical differences in the skeletons of monkeys, to see how they change over time in different environments.
When the idea for Secrets Of Bones came about, a six-part series on skeletons and all things bony, the next thing I knew I was having my skull printed off, building a silverback gorilla skeleton and watching a horse on a treadmill... it all happened so quickly.
It’s not the obvious thing that they’re all so very different that’s cool (or weird) about bones, for me it’s that they are often so very similar.
You’d be surprised at how similar a whale and frog skeleton are, for example. Well, apart from the slight difference in size, that is!
It just takes a few tweaks for a hook-like spider monkey hand to be the precision tool that is the human hand, and from there, it’s only a few adjustments until you have the bizarre and quite frankly amazing aye-aye hand.
They’re all primates and they’re all hands but with just a few changes, you have major impacts...
Monday 17 February 2014, 10:06
I had my reservations when asked if I’d like to produce Dissected, a series about the dissection of a human hand and foot.
Not because I’m particularly squeamish - I have made a lot medical series, including a stint in the main allied forces military hospital in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. I’m used to seeing the internal mechanics of the body.
I was more concerned about whether this was something that people would actually want to watch. It was an intriguing enough proposition to make me want to do it.
I’m very glad I did as it turned out to be a fascinating exploration into what makes us human.
The point at which the project really got under my skin, as it were, was when I met the hand surgeon in the series, Donald Sammut.
It was at Chelsea Arts Club because not only is Donald an eminent surgeon, he is also a talented artist.
This effusive and intellectual man knew every fibre of the human hand – and made me look at mine differently than I ever had before.
This was all very well looking at my own hand but we needed to dissect one.
Dissection is not something the public are normally allowed to see, it...
Thursday 6 February 2014, 10:51
When Call The Midwife discovered their much-loved Nonnatus House (filmed at St Joseph's College in Mill Hill, London), was to be redeveloped into luxury 21st century flats, they had no other choice than to go out in search of a new home.
Luckily the new Nonnatus House featured in series three offered plenty of advantages.
Wednesday 29 January 2014, 18:23
The comments will open before shortly the web chat starts at 11pm on Saturday, 1 February and will finish at midnight. Hans won’t be able to answer every question submitted and we also ask that questions and comments fall under our house rules.
So get your questions ready as Saga and Martin race against the clock to prevent a disaster.Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia)
Thank you for all your comments. To read Hans' replies please see the Editors' Picks below.
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Friday 24 January 2014, 19:04
Saga Norén, Länskrim, Malmö and Martin Rohde, Köpenhamnspoliti.
I have had them in my life since 2006, when we started working on The Bridge.
The assignment from our producers was to:
1. Create a show that was equally set in Denmark and Sweden.
2. It had to be a thriller.
That meant detectives. From two countries.
In real life Swedes and Danes can understand each other, but we don't understand each other as well they do in the show.
The co-creators and I decided early in the process not to make anything of it. So every Dane speaks Danish and every Swede speaks Swedish.
The first thing we...
Thursday 23 January 2014, 09:43
In April 2013 he called and invited me to get involved in making a film he’d been asked to provide music for.
After seeing some of the material for myself and ensuring that the producers and financiers were very ready to support a bold approach, it became an easy...
Thursday 16 January 2014, 12:05
The stars of BBC One’s Hidden Kingdoms are miniature Jack Bauers, packing enough drama into 24 hours to put Kiefer Sutherland to shame, so from the start we knew that to portray their lives would require a new approach.
This is a departure from the BBC Natural History Unit's usual output and is dramatised natural history.
We've filmed real behaviour but recreated certain key events, which are both scientifically and biologically accurate, that would be impossible to film in any other way.
Monday 6 January 2014, 17:14
From the very beginning my interest in archaeology was driven by fascination with the strangeness of the past.
As well as wondering at the effort involved in building places like Avebury, West Kennet long barrow and the Ring of Brodgar, I wanted to understand what on earth had motivated all that labour in the first place.
When the Sacred Wonders Of Britain project came along, I felt I would finally have the opportunity to have some speculative conversations with the foremost experts in fields like archaeology and medieval history. And so it was.
Friday 3 January 2014, 10:31
The expedition in Operation Grand Canyon With Dan Snow gave me that opportunity in a small wooden boat!
With little rapids experience, but a hunger for adventure, this seemed a small price to pay to see one of the geological wonders of the world.
The canyon, and the expedition, did not disappoint. You get a whole load of rock and a whole load...