Apeman - Spaceman

Series 1 - Episode 1 Apeman - Spaceman

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Review

Brian Cox is thinking big. And he’s thinking deep. His latest series strays further from his physics homeland into somewhere between a Horizon and Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time on Radio 4, and does so with a fearless intellectual sweep.

Take this sentence, from one of Cox’s pieces to camera: “Writing created a cultural ratchet,” he tells us, “An exponentiation of the known which ultimately led us to the stars.” Now, there aren’t many people who would attempt the word “exponentiation” in public, in fact this may be its first use on primetime television, but Cox can get away with it if anyone can.

He is charting how humans went from becoming self-aware to making arrow-heads, and progressed to agriculture, writing and ultimately space travel. Roped into the narrative are wobbles in the Earth’s orbit, the price of black pepper in ancient Rome and a climax involving cosmonauts on the steppes of Kazakhstan. You can’t fault him for ambition.

Summary

Professor Brian Cox examines how it was that in a universe made of stars, rocks and endless space, a conscious civilisation was born. His latest adventure takes him from a submerged space station in Star City on the outskirts of Moscow, to Ethiopia, high above in the great Rift Valley, where he encounters the geladas, mankind's distant ancestors. Despite once being Africa's most successful primate, a species which at one time roamed across the entire continent, these days they are found in one just place in the remote Ethiopian Highlands. Cox investigates why these ancestors retreated, yet modern mankind has expanded across the planet.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Brian Cox
Director Stephen Cooter
Executive Producer Andrew Cohen
Producer Stephen Cooter
Series Producer Gideon Bradshaw
Education