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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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The BBC's Darwin Season: marking the life and work of Charles Darwin – introduction

Darwin season

The BBC's Darwin Season in 2009 offers a raft of landmark content to mark one of the most astonishing and influential scientific ideas ever conceived.

12 February 2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, with 24 November 2009 marking 150 years since of the publication of his book On The Origin Of Species, which laid out the theory of evolution by natural selection.

David Attenborough, Andrew Marr, Melvyn Bragg and Jimmy Doherty are just some of the well-known names helping the BBC and the nation to mark the life and work of Charles Darwin. The programming sets out to explore the theory of evolution, which is regarded as one of the most far-reaching and influential scientific ideas ever known.

A range of BBC content from BBC Science, the Natural History Unit, the Religion and Ethics department and CBBC will deliver, across television, radio and online, an array of stories and voices about this mould-breaking scientific theory – one which has robustly stood the test of time.

The Open University (OU) has partnered with the BBC to co-produce three major series and a one-off special as part of the season.

George Entwistle, Controller, Knowledge Commissioning, BBC Vision, said: "The key Darwin anniversaries provide an excellent opportunity for the BBC to explore in real depth this revolutionary idea, and the man behind it. The season stretches across the BBC landscape and we're delighted to have content from across television, radio and online.

"We hope it will connect our audiences to Darwin the man, as well as Darwin the scientific revolutionary. I hope this season will inspire our audiences and deliver real insight into his ideas and what they mean for contemporary society."

Mohit Bakaya, Commissioning Editor, Radio 4, said: "Radio 4 has commissioned a range of documentaries and short features to mark the Darwin anniversaries. With Melvyn Bragg, we will explore the detail of his life, his theories and the historical context to his work.

"We will get a personal take from his great-great granddaughter, the poet Ruth Padel, and also explore ways in which scientists are working with his ideas today."

John Lynch, Head of Science, BBC Vision Productions, said: "2009 and 2010 are years of great significance for science and will see a major push from the BBC in the public understanding of science.

"The BBC has commissioned some big science landmarks, covering some of the most important fundamentals of scientific literacy. The Darwin Season is a good example of this focus on science."

Professor Brenda Gourley, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: "The Open University is delighted to be co-producing three diverse series and a great one-off programme with the BBC as part of the Darwin season.

"The partnership between The Open University and the BBC has been hugely successful since it began nearly 40 years ago. This season's co-productions illustrate once more that we continue to provide informative and educational programming to inspire and stimulate learners."


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