Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity

Series 1 - 3. Revelations and Revolutions

Radio Times
Review by:
Patrick Mulkern

Cathode ray tubes, valves, microchips, superconductors - inventions come thick and fast, at times bewilderingly so, in the final part of Professor Jim Al-Khalili’s excellent series, which shows how advancements in our understanding of electricity connected the modern world. He leads us along a path from stuffy Victorian lecture halls to the dawn of Silicon Valley, name-checking Hertz and Marconi, and extolling lesser-known figures such as British physicist Oliver Lodge and Indian pioneer Jagadish Chandra Bose, who lost out along the way.

Al-Khalili’s hands-on approach really does inspire the awe promised in the title.

About this programme

3/3. Jim Al-Khalili explains how the study of electric fields and electromagnetic waves led to breakthroughs in communications and broadcasting, creating a world more dependent than ever on electrical power. He also investigates why scientists researching electrical superconductivity believe their work could have far-reaching effects.

Cast and crew


Jim Al-Khalili


Alex Freeman
Executive Producer
Tina Fletcher-Hill
Alex Freeman
Series Producer
Steve Crabtree