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Last on

Thu 21 Apr 2011 21:00 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 19 April 2011

What happens when you switch on a light? The actor Toby Jones discovers it is a question without end.

A simple question has been troubling Toby Jones for some time. Challenged to develop a piece of theatre about climate change, Toby was struggling for ideas. Then it hit him. If we understand what happens when we turn a light switch on we might be better at turning lights off. And so Toby started to learn as much as he could about what happens when you turn on a light switch. And he's still going.

The Light Switch Project follows Toby on a journey into an act we all take for granted every day. Meeting various experts to explain (amongst other things) the evolution of the eye, the workings of the national grid, and the fact that that we don't know what electricity really is. Going all the way to the carboniferous tree that made the lump of coal that burnt to make the light bulb glow. All from the Pandora's Box of a simple question - what happens when you turn on a light switch?


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