Wonders of Life

Series 1 - 3. Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Radio Times
Review by:
David Butcher

This week Brian Cox looks at “how our beautiful, complex tree of life has grown from a once desolate universe” and also how “carbon leaps from branch to branch” across that tree. So there’s an explanation of evolution (via lemurs) and the carbon cycle (via termites), and how carbon came to be created inside ageing stars. It’s beautifully done, and you have to love the way the programme uses floating captions and diagrams to pick things out and help with the explanations – a bit like they do in Sherlock. Also, this week Cox plays with an actual lion cub.

About this programme

3/5. Professor Brian Cox travels to southern Africa and Madagascar to examine why Earth is such a fertile place and how it sustains such a large diversity of life forms. He searches for clues by considering the chemistry of a lion and reveals that the answer lies partly in carbon, a universal building block forged by the stars that is captured and used by the living world. By following the stellar origins of the element and the universality of the laws of nature, Brian contemplates whether there could be similar life elsewhere in the cosmos.

Cast and crew


Brian Cox


Gideon Bradshaw
Gideon Bradshaw
Series Producer
James Van der Pool