Brian Cox: I don’t want my kids exposed to talent shows

"I don't want them to get it into their minds there's a shortcut to riches. I want them to go to university and work hard for everything they get"

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What’s the best job in TV?

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The director-general of the BBC has a tremendous opportunity to shape TV. If I had that job, I’d tell ’em! “This is not just about entertainment!” I’d get a flag with EDUCATION written on it and plant it in the sand. Television is the most powerful way of getting ideas across. Often it doesn’t take its responsibilities seriously.

What will TV be like in 30 years’ time?

It will be a great loss if it doesn’t look similar. People talk about the multi-channel environment but we need to be careful. If you as a viewer think that all you’re interested in is sport, then you’ll watch 24-hour sport and never stumble across a documentary on astronomy or a comedy. So it’s an “old-fashioned” idea but still relevant and incredibly valuable.

What will stand the test of time?

Undoubtedly the great natural history documentaries – they’re absolutely timeless. David Attenborough will still be on in 30 years’ time.

What programme won’t?

We have had enough of talent shows. I don’t want my kids exposed to them and get it into their minds there’s a shortcut to riches. I want them to go to university and work hard for everything they get.

Who do you want to win the RT Audience Award?

The Olympics Opening Ceremony because it added something to the debate about Britain and – it’s cliché to say it again – who we are. It was a political statement and genuinely made a difference. 

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The British Academy Television Awards are on Sunday 12 May at 8:00pm on BBC1.