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17 September 2014
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Benedict Cumberbatch is Stephen Hawking


Sunday 15 May 2005, 8pm BBC Two
(First shown April 2004)

Also in Science & Nature

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Elsewhere on the Web

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Providing care for those with MND and supporting research into causes and treatments.


The story of Professor Stephen Hawking's early years is told for the first time in a major drama for BBC Two.

It is 1963, and our young cosmologist celebrates his 21st birthday. At the party is a new friend, Jane Wilde - there is a strong attraction between the two. Jane is intrigued by Stephen's talk of stars and the Universe. But she realises that there is something very wrong when Stephen suddenly finds that he is unable to stand up.

Hawking stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the young Stephen Hawking who, as a bright and ambitious 21-year-old PhD student at Cambridge University, is diagnosed with the debilitating motor neurone disease and given two years to live. Against the odds, he goes on to achieve scientific success and worldwide acclaim, in particular with his best-selling book A Brief History Of Time.

Bigger than his illness

Hawking producer Jessica Pope says: "Stephen's is an heroic story of great achievement. It's about the nature of time on both a deeply personal and a universal scale. At the moment when his intellect was striving to grow to its full potential, his physical self was cruelly closing down. The fact that he never spoke about it, but through sheer force of will and personality determined to be bigger than his illness, is inspirational."

Stephen Hawking - Benedict Cumberbatch
Jane Wilde - Lisa Dillon
Roger Penrose - Tom Ward
Arno Penzias - Michael Brandon
Dennis Sciama - John Sessions

Directed by Philip Martin
Produced by Jessica Pope
Written by Peter Moffat

Find out more about Hawking's incredible life in the Hawking biography.

Hawking was filmed on location in Cambridge and London and is a BBC Two collaboration between BBC Drama and Horizon for BBC Science.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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