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Britain's Greatest Invention

Trevor McDonald, Angela Rippon, Nick Knowles, Giles Coren, Len Goodman, David Harewood and Angela Scanlon compete to reveal Britain's best invention.

Seven celebrities to battle it out to reveal Britain's Greatest Invention live. Sir Trevor McDonald, Angela Rippon, Giles Coren, Len Goodman, David Harewood, Angela Scanlon and Nick Knowles each champion one object in their bid to persuade the audience to vote for their invention and win the title of Britain's Greatest Invention.

The programme comes live from the Science Museum Group's vast stores, a treasure trove of eight aircraft hangers near Swindon full of the UK and beyond's most cherished inventions. Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and automotive engineer Ant Anstead, they reveal the winning invention that will go on to be celebrated in the Science Museum itself.

Giles Coren champions the humble fridge, an invention that plays a crucial role in how healthy we are. Len Goodman is an ambassador for the stream engine and explores how steam turbines still generate 80 per cent of the world's power. Having had TB when she was a child, Angela Rippon is an ambassador for the invention of antibiotics, whilst for David Harewood, the jet engine that keeps almost one million people in the air at any one time is the most significant revelation of modern technology.

For Angela Scanlon, the mobile phone is the winning invention because it's a fantastic collaboration of multiple technologies, many of which are British. For Trevor McDonald, the television is ultimately the winning invention - when growing up in Trinidad it inspired him to pursue broadcasting. For Nick Knowles, concrete is the unsung hero of the seven inventions. It is the most used man-made substance on the planet.

We also delve behind the scenes in the amazing Science Museum Group's stores to discover a treasure trove of inventions. Discovering items big and small, epic and humble, this is a celebration of our inventing past.

1 hour, 29 minutes

Last on

Thu 15 Jun 2017 20:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:03

    Nina Simone


  • 00:09

    Nina Simone

    I Put A Spell On You (Album Version)

  • 00:15

    Mary-Ann Rissmann


  • 00:25


    Call Me

  • 00:29


    Alarm Call

  • 00:31

    The Meters

    Cissy Strut

  • 00:42

    James Brown

    I Got You (I Feel Good)

  • 00:43

    David Holmes

    Rodney Yates

  • 01:29

    Ludovico Einaudi



Role Contributor
Presenter Ant Anstead
Presenter Hannah Fry
Presenter Trevor McDonald
Presenter Giles Coren
Presenter David Harewood
Presenter Angela Rippon
Presenter Angela Scanlon
Presenter Nick Knowles
Presenter Len Goodman
Executive Producer Jonathan Taylor
Series Producer Rebecca Arnold
Editor Richard Buss
Director Luke Mcloughlin
Production Company Thoroughly Modern Media
Assistant Producer Gareth Prescott
Director Ian Russel


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Explore further with The Open University about inventions that have changed the way we live today

Explore further with The Open University about inventions that have changed the way we live today

Visit OpenLearn, the Open University home of free learning, to discover more.