BBC TWO's Horizon celebrates 40th birthday
with new series this autumn
BBC TWO's Horizon celebrates 40 years as television's
foremost science strand with a characteristic eclectic line-up of subject
matter for the autumn series beginning next month.
Subjects to be covered in the new series include the
truth about vitamins, the MMR vaccine and the extraordinary story of
the discovery of King Solomon's Tablet of Stone.
The diversity of topics is a Horizon tradition which dates back
to the very first broadcast of the programme in 1964.
The World of Buckminster Fuller explored the theories
and structures of an entrepreneur who made a million out of patenting
It included Horizon's mission statement: "The aim
of Horizon is to provide a platform from which some of the world's greatest
scientists and philosophers can communicate their curiosity, observations
and reflections, and infuse into our common knowledge their changing
views of the universe.
"We shall do this by presenting science not as
a series of isolated discoveries but as a continuing growth of thought,
a philosophy which is an essential part of twentieth century culture."
Over the years Horizon has hit the headlines with a
range of revealing and challenging programmes including:
1972's Whales, Dolphins and Men about the use of whale
meat in pet food which within a year led to a ban on all imports of
1988's Life Story, a drama about Watson and Crick's
discovery of DNA which starred Jeff Goldblum, Juliet Stevenson, Tim
Piggot-Smith and Alan Howard;
Fermat's Last Therom in 1996 which won numerous awards
and is still frequently used in film courses today as an example of
classic documentary story telling;
and 2003's The Fall of The World Trade Centre which
won an Emmy.
Horizon also launched the careers of several people
who went on to be famous in other fields.
The director of Life Story Mick Jackson went
to Hollywood where he directed The Bodyguard; the director of Fermat's
Last Therom Simon Singh went on to write a best selling book
about the subject and now presents a quiz show on BBC FOUR; and former
Editor of the series Jana Bennett is currently BBC Director of
Horizon was first broadcast in the early days of BBC
TWO when coverage for the channel was still limited. Early audience
figures, reflecting that lack of coverage, ranged from 50,000 to 150,000.
Today's audiences average between 2.5 and 3 million.
Update - the new series of Horizon begins on BBC
TWO on Thursday 16 September 2004 at 9.00pm