BBC Darwin Season starts Feb 2009

BBC Press Office Release

12 February 2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and 24 November 2009 is the 150th 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 and Jimmy Doherty are just some of the well-known names who will be helping the BBC and the nation to mark the life and work of Charles Darwin on the BBC in winter 08/09.

The season sets out to explore evolution, regarded as one of the most far-reaching and influential scientific ideas ever. It is an idea which has robustly stood the test of time.

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 will stretch 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."

Andrew Caspari, Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4, said: "Radio 4 is commissioning a range of documentaries and short features to mark the anniversaries of Charles Darwin. "We will look at his work and his life and assess his significant legacy for science and for society."

John Lynch, Head of Science, BBC Vision, 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 of the biggest science landmarks we have ever done, covering some of the most important fundamentals of scientific literacy. "The Darwin Season is a good example of this focus on science."

A range of BBC content from BBC Science, Natural History Unit (NHU), Religion and Ethics and CBBC will deliver across television, radio and online an array of stories and voices about this mould-breaking scientific theory.

BBC Darwin Season highlights

David Attenborough on Evolution BBC One kicks off the season with a one-off special from David Attenborough and the Natural History Unit (NHU) in Bristol. This one off special will explore the origin of Darwin's great idea. David Attenborough makes a powerful case for the importance of the science of evolution.

Andrew Marr On Darwin's Legacy (working title) is a landmark new 3 x 60-minute series for BBC Two. Marr will explore the radical impact of Darwin's theory not only in science, but also society, political movements (capitalist, Marxist and fascist) and religion.

It will also show how that impact continues today, underpinning much of our modern understanding of human life. Co-funded by the Open University (OU).

BBC Four will present two specially commissioned one-off documentaries: What Darwin Didn't Know and Darwin: In His Own Words.

What Darwin Didn't Know is a new 1 x 90-minute film exploring a new field of genetics, "evo devo" – the combined study of evolution and development in the womb – which is allowing us to solve some of Darwin's unanswered questions.

Darwin: In His Own Words will use newly-released documents from Cambridge University to chart Darwin's thoughts during the long period before he made his theory known to the public.

Entomologist and farmer Jimmy Doherty recreates many of Darwin's ground-breaking plant experiments at Down House, the Darwin family home in Kent, in Darwin's Garden (3 x 60-minute) for BBC Two. Co-funded by the OU.

BBC One has also commissioned Life (10 x 60-minute) from the NHU, a natural history spectacular which captures the most extraordinary and awe-inspiring animal survival behaviours ever shown on TV. Four years in the making, Life is filmed in the most extreme environments across the globe. Co-funded by the OU. A co-production with BBC Worldwide and Discovery.

BBC Press Office

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